MK Dons have officially announced the signing of former Ipswich Town defender and New Zealand international Tommy Smith, following his release from Colchester United.
The experienced defender spent the last three years with the U’s, moving to the Colchester Community Stadium after a brief stint with Sunderland in League One.
By the beginning of his second season at Colchester, the ex-Colorado Rapids man was named club captain and made 101 appearances in all competitions but was released at the end of last term and has been without a club since.
Smith did endure a trial period with MK Dons and has been confirmed as the recently-relegated side’s sixth signing of the summer transfer window.
Speaking to club media at the official announcement of his unveiling, new signing Smith professed his delight with getting the deal over the line, as the campaign is set to begin in little over a week.
“It’s brilliant to get the deal sorted and over the line. I’m delighted to be here and hopefully, I can help contribute to a successful season.
“I got a call from the Gaffer to see if I’d be interested in coming in to train and I jumped at the chance. I have enjoyed my couple of weeks here so far, getting to know the manager and the players, so it was an easy decision to sign.
“This is quite a young squad and I know the Gaffer wants me to come in and use my experience as much as I can, on and off the pitch.
Alexander’s thoughts on the signing
Head coach Graham Alexander shared the player’s excitement and praised New Zealand’s youngest-ever captain for his contributions so far on and off the pitch:
“Adding Tommy’s abilities on the pitch, as well as his character off it, will be a big thing for us. He’s a no-nonsense defender, who will go in where it will hurt but he’s also someone who is tactically aware and can pass that information on to the team.
“He played in the pre-season game against Barnet and then came with us to Germany. We liked how he trained and how he interacted with everybody. He also showed us how motivated he is to contribute to the team this season.
“Already, in the short space of time that he’s been with us, we have seen him pass on the experience and knowledge he has from playing at a higher level and internationally. However, he’s not coming in to just be a mouthpiece for us – he’s motivated to be a valuable player for us.”
Given that Smith had been on trial for a few weeks now, it seemed inevitable that the defender would sign a permanent contract with the Dons. However, that doesn’t make the deal any less impressive.
The 33-year-old has an immense CV, having played for clubs such as Ipswich, Colorado Rapids, Sunderland and even Brentford and will bring much-needed experience to what is quite a young team.