After leaving on loan in January to join AFC Wimbledon, George Dobson has made thirteen appearances for the London-based side. In the first of a three-part series, I was joined by Wimbledon's matchday commentator Mike Taliadorros to find out how Dobson is doing, here's what he had to say...
"He's gradually gotten into the swing of it. It hasn't helped that he came into a side with very poor results recently and a defence that caved in at every opportunity but, since the new managers came in it has led to an uplift in the entire team. He's really growing in stature in the centre of the park, whilst his opinion (to a certain extent) does polarize fans)."
"He tends to sit in front of the back four and has been pushing forward gradually as the weeks have gone on. He's always breaking up play and making tackles: when he receives the ball, he immediately seizes up where it needs to go. He quickly and decisively put passes through. Crucially, he got us a point through his headed equalizer against Wigan. He's always getting up and down, and finds himself out wide, too. He's always busy, never rests on his laurels and you can see he's always trying to seize up his options and judge what's best, whether it be a short, square pass or a lofted pass across the field. The only quiet games he has tend to be when the entire team is below parr but he does tend to drag us through games. I think some of our players compliment his style. We vary the formation and look better with four at the back, occasionally in a midfield diamond. He adapts to the formation and does whatever he needs to do in any given game. It's clear he's got great football intelligence. I think he's been one of our main impressive midfielders."
"We have a number of other defensive midfielders. Jaakko Oksanen, on loan from Brentford, can be accused of having a style too similar for them to start but they started together in our draw against Charlton and did well. If you look at the league table, our expectations and aspirations are simply to stay in League 1 for next season and, because of that, I think the pressure may be slightly off George."
"Depending on what the fee would be, I'd consider taking him on. I'd certainly put in a bid. Out of ten, I'd give him a seven. He does his best to lift the team and add some energy, especially when some others are having an off-day. Whilst he's not exactly been superman, he's certainly adapted and grown in stature as the weeks have gone on. I'd say seven, but that could go up as the weeks come on."
After struggling for form during his time on Wearside, it appears the former Walsall player of the season is gaining some momentum in his spell out on loan. Is it possible the lower expectation that comes with playing for AFC Wimbledon along with the change in role (as he is exposed to defending more so than when playing for us) is bringing out the best in him? Regardless, it appears the decision to loan him out was a smart one given the growing strength we are currently experiencing and the minutes he's able to gain.