There is a strong possibility that George Dobson could end up being voted Charlton Athletic’s Player of the Year, but the midfielder deliberates when asked to mark his own campaign out of 10.
Only goalkeeper Craig MacGillivray (2,970) and centre-back Akin Famewo (2,635) have played more minutes in League One for the Addicks than the Romford-born 24-year-old (2,365).
But Dobson’s total would have been higher if he had not been one of the casualties of the club’s early season struggles which saw then manager Nigel Adkins making changes to try and produce an upturn in results.
He has been back in favour ever since Johnnie Jackson took over as Charlton boss – and more than stepped up to the plate.
Dobson is the club’s top player for accurate passes per match (an average of 30.7) and for successful tackles.
The former Arsenal and West Ham youngster signed a two-year contract on July 1 after his Sunderland deal was mutually terminated.
“I had a bit of a tricky start – I fell out of favour under the old gaffer,” Dobson told the South London Press. “The new gaffer has got lots of faith in me and I’ve just been trying to repay it every week.
“I still think there is a lot of things I can be better at and improve on, like my forward passing. And the accuracy of those passes is something I could be better at.
“I really understand my role in the team, defensively and on the ball, but I would like to push myself on by being better at that side of my game.
“My performances have been consistent and I’ve tried to keep hold of my shirt.”
Dobson responds with “maybe a seven” to the question about rating his debut season with the Addicks up to this juncture.
His performances on loan at AFC Wimbledon in the second half of the 2020-21 campaign – virtually an ever-present under Mark Robinson – put him on Charlton’s shopping list.
“When I was leaving Sunderland I didn’t have a load of interest,” he said. “Wimbledon were interested and Northampton, who were around the bottom of League One as well.
“I just felt Wimbledon, as a club, really suited me. I loved it there. I had a really good relationship with the manager, staff and players.
“If Charlton had not come in then I would’ve signed for Wimbledon, definitely. But you look at this club and it has the fanbase, stadium and stature that made me want to try and be here a long time.
“I was delighted when they showed interest and I want to be here as long as possible and go through the leagues with them.”
Dobson does not look to shift the blame elsewhere for not managing to make a bigger impact at Sunderland, who he joined for an undisclosed fee from Walsall in July 2019.
Manager Jack Ross was sacked four months later and replaced by Phil Parkinson.
“I actually played near enough every game after he came in,” said Dobson. “In the second season there I got sent off in the first [league] game and the player who came in started putting in good consistent performances.
“I only started one other league game under Parkinson and I had a poor match. I just didn’t take my opportunity.”
Dobson played the full 90 minutes against the Wearsiders on Saturday – a stalemate as Charlton ended a run of five successive league defeats.
“When something doesn’t work out somewhere you want to try and prove to them they made the wrong decision,” he said.
“It does give you that extra bit of motivation, playing against them.
“When you get on those sort of losing runs it is difficult to stop the rot but I feel like we went back to basics. You could see everyone fighting for each other to keep the ball out of the net.
“We could’ve nicked it at the end when Jayden [Stockley] had a chance. I feel like it will give us a lot of confidence going into the last 11 games to really try and push up the table and get ready for next season. It’s obviously been disappointing – the size of the club and the quality of players we have means that we should be performing a lot better than we have done.
“Out start put us into a bad situation from the get-go. We had an upturn in form after the gaffer [Jackson] first came in.
“There have been games lately where we haven’t been good enough. But if you take your three senior centre-forwards out of any team in League One it is going to be really hard to replace them.
“Jayden gives us that threat and we had him back in the side at the weekend.
“We could’ve been better on the ball on Saturday but it gives us a platform to build from.”
Dobson is a West Ham fan. He joined Arsenal at the age of eight and played at centre-back until he switched to the east London club’s academy ranks at 17.
“I made the decision to move into midfield,” said Dobson. “I wasn’t quite tall enough or quite good enough in the air.
“I just didn’t have the attributes to be a centre-back in men’s football. But if I was asked to play there now, I would – anything to help.
“It was tough to leave West Ham. I’d been a season-ticket holder since five or six. My whole family is West Ham. But I needed to see a pathway for myself in a first team.
“I wanted to give myself the best opportunity of a career in the game.
“I still have the ambition to push on to the Championship and, like for everyone, it would be a dream to play in the Premier League. But I felt I needed to drop down and gain experience to hopefully get back there one day.”
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