Ben Purrington on his Charlton Athletic loan – and leaving AFC Wimbledon

BY RICHARD CAWLEY
richard@slpmedia.co.uk

Ben Purrington reckons his recent loan reshuffle is a perfect example of why footballers cannot predict what the future holds.

The 22-year-old Rotherham United left-back had been an ever-present in League One in the first half of the season for AFC Wimbledon.

But Purrington was recalled last Thursday by his parent club and instantly sent back out – this time to  the Addicks.

And that’s why the Exeter-born defender, who made his Charlton bow in Saturday’s 3-0 win at Shrewsbury, does not look too far ahead.

“It’s hard to plan because I have had four clubs in the last two years – Plymouth, Rotherham, Wimbledon and Charlton,” he said. “I never would have thought that would’ve happened.

“So the next few years could be just as up in the air. I wouldn’t have expected to play for two clubs on loan this season, if you’d asked me at the start of this season.

“You want to be settled, but in saying that I had a good loan at Wimbledon and it has started well at Charlton.

I was happy at Plymouth for 12 years and I maybe thought I would stay there forever, but then it doesn’t happen – something pops up  [Rotherham paying a six-figure fee in January 2017].

“So it is going to be best to just get on with it. I’m quite easy-going and level in the way I think about it. Sometimes these things are out of your hands. You just give everything you have got and hopefully good things happen from that.”

Purrington has made 30 starts this season – 29 of those for Wimbledon. He has swapped a survival scrap for a promotion push.

“It was literally a couple of days before the transfer happened that I got wind of interest [from Charlton],” said Purrington, who is two matches shy of a century of first-team games.

“My agent doesn’t like to tell me too much until it is almost getting there.

“It got to Tuesday or Wednesday and I got a phonecalla from Rotherham. They spoke to me and I was really happy for it to happen.

There was a recall in my contract. I could have pushed and said definitely no, that I wanted to stay there. But Rotherham thought it was best for me, and the people around me thought it was best for me.

“Charlton is a good club. Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Wimbledon. They did brilliantly for me and I’m hoping they’ll be fine this season. There are some great people there.”

Purrington believes he can walk away knowing he performed to his maximum for the Dons.
“I’m not the most gifted footballer in the world,” he said. “But I did my best – I’d like to think the club and the fans could see that.

“Maybe people think that players who are signed on loan don’t really care, but I got a really good feel of Wimbledon. There is such a connection with the fans that you want to give something back.”

Now comes a new chapter.

“It’s a complete turnaround,” he said. “I’ve gone from down the bottom and fighting for point after point. Now we are trying to push towards those top two places.

We can’t really have any slip-ups. If we lose a couple more than we are probably out of it.“We need a winning run. There are some good team up there as well and they aren’t losing many games.”

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