Will Nightingale hasn’t time to be jealous of former schoolmate Ryan Sweeney as he forges his own footballing journey at AFC Wimbledon.
When Sweeney landed a dream move to Premier League Stoke City in August the paths of the two young defenders diverged for the first time after more than a decade growing up together.
Both joined Dons’ academy in 2005 and Sweeney would later join Roehampton-born Nightingale at Richard Challoner School where despite a two-year age gap the two were mates.
Yet Nightingale, whose career has been held back by injury in recent years, insists there were no attacks of green-eyed monster when Sweeney was the one to make the leap to the top level of the English game.
“I wasn’t really affected by Ryan’s move,” he said.
“I’m quite close with Ryan because I went to the same school as him and I’m quite a young one in my year, so I don’t think there is too much age gap between us. So, we got on well anyway.
“Ryan is a good player and it is no surprise a top team came in for him.
“We still keep in touch every now and then and I wish him all the best with his career because he’s a good player and will play at a good level.
“But I don’t look at it as I should be comparing myself to anyone else. I believe I should try and work on myself and being the best I can.”
Injuries behind him Nightingale has been at the heart of the Dons rear-guard for both the recent win at Peterborough and Saturday’s last-gasp defeat at home to Bradford.
He will hope to continue that progress in Saturday’s FA Cup tie away to Bury.