Dean Lewington spoke of his pride at receiving a ‘special’ award, after being named MK Dons Player of the Year for the 2020/21 season.
The club captain, who has amassed 49 appearances this term and currently leads the league in passes completed, was chosen, by the supporters, as the Dons’ standout performer this campaign, and speaking during The Awards 2021, a grateful Lewington said he was honoured to be recognised.
“To win this award is something really special,” he said. “It’s totally a surprise, because it wasn’t something I thought was on the horizon, but it’s a nice feeling and I’m happy and proud to have won it.
“When you’re a defender, you often go a little under the radar and do the things that aren’t that attractive so it’s nice to know people have recognised the sort of things.
“I have a fantastic relationship with the fans. It’s just been a real shame that we haven’t had fans inside the stadium to watch us – I must look better on TV than I do in the flesh!
“It’s helped, being able to play in different positions. You’ll always have younger players come in and the squad will naturally evolve too so you have to be of use. Being able to play a number of different positions helps in that scenario.
“This isn’t a charity. Russ doesn’t pick me because we used to be roommates – you’ve got to be worth your weight. You have to keep performing and keep getting better.
“This has been one of my most enjoyable years in terms of what we’ve been doing and how we’ve gone about it – I think that’s shown on the pitch. Training has been excellent. I get into my car every day and enjoy coming to work and for a 36-year-old footballer, that isn’t always the case.”
Lewington’s performances have been a key reason behind the Dons’ ascent from relegation battlers in 2019/20 to a side on course to finish inside the top 10 in Sky Bet League One.
Looking ahead to next season, the 36-year-old is after more improvement – and hopes to continue the progression in front of supporters.
“It’s about continuing to progress,” he told Dean Bowditch during The Awards 2021.
“We’ve done so well this year, given the backdrop of this season. The fact we lost Rhys Healey and it’s almost been forgotten, shows how well we’ve done.
“This summer will be another big one because everyone can see what a good group we’ve got. Hopefully we can keep people together because it feels like we’re at the start of a very exciting journey.
“I’m happy to be a part of the start of it – I probably won’t see the finish of it. I’m buzzing to be a part of it and every one else is too and that’s finally starting to show with the results. It’s taken a bit of time to get here and hopefully next year we can build on that.”
He continued: “We miss the fans tremendously and it’s a real shame that we haven’t been able to share this journey with them.
“This is what MK is all about – new young players, players from the area, a new style, a new manager and a different way of doing things. It’s unique and that’s the way we are. I’m sure the lads will love to be a part of it next season.”