This week, The72 managed to have a chat with 22-year-old AFC Wimbledon midfielder Jake Nicholson to talk about his past, his thoughts on the club’s opening game and their match tonight against MK Dons.
After a difficult year last season for the former Tottenham Hotspur and England U19 midfielder, where he released by his club and had an unsuccessful trial at some Premier League clubs, he’s looking forward to a full campaign with Wimbledon after joining back in February.
He said: “It was a tricky season after leaving Spurs and being without a club, trying to gain fitness and going into high-end, Premiership clubs. You aren’t a young player anymore at 21-22 and you want a first-team spot, so it was hard but I’m happy to be here.“
After getting a full pre-season under his belt, Nicholson is looking forward to being part of an exciting team once he recovers from a niggling injury that kept him out of Saturday’s opener. He’s especially excited by the promise shown by the club’s new striking partnership, Matt Tubbs and Adebayo Akinfenwa.
“Matt Tubbs has a great reputation and you can see in training that he’s very clinical. What he’s doing already with Adebayo Akinfenwa, with his hold-up play that it’s frightening sometime and if they can do what they do in training in games, like they did against Shrewsbury, then we could have the best partnership in the league.“
Nicholson said the dressing room was happy with a 2-2 draw against Shrewsbury at the weekend but that on another day it could have been another result entirely. He said: “If anyone was there you could see that we had two chances cleared off the line and it could have been 4-2 but Shrewsbury are a strong side coming down from League One.“
“You could see that they had quality and it was two teams really going at it. We could have got the win but I think everyone’s accepted the point and we go straight into the next game on Tuesday evening against MK Dons.“
As for the game tonight against the club formerly known as Wimbledon, Nicholson said that the squad is “100 percent” ready for it and he hopes to be involved in some capacity should he be fit in time. He added: “You could see it today (Monday) in training, everyone at the club knows the history between the two and I’m sure that everyone’s up for the game and the fans are up for it as well.“
Back in 2011, he got his chance with the England youth set-up on the back of being involved with Tottenham’s first team under Harry Redknapp and playing in the Europa League qualifier against Hearts. But despite that run ending badly with keyhole surgery needed to repair torn cartilage in his hip, Nicholson is looking forward to his future with AFC Wimbledon.
“Going away with the England U19’s and signing a contract at Spurs were some big highlights but now I’m just trying to get back on my feet hopefully with Wimbledon and we can start pushing up the leagues.“