MK Dons take former England international on a free

MK Dons have signed former England international Matthew Upson, who was available on a free transfer after being released earlier this summer.

The 36-year-old spent last season in the Premier League with Leicester City, but made just five appearances for the Foxes and these came in a six-week period during February and March. As he was only a short-term contract at the King Power Stadium he wasn’t retained for the coming season, and so was made available for a free transfer when his deal came to an end.

With the new season just over a week away, Upson has now found a new club after MK Dons offered him a one-year contract. The central defender, who appeared for his country 22 times and was part of Fabio Capello’s World Cup squad of 2010, will now compete with Kyle McFadzean, Antony Kay, Jordan Spence and Tom Flanagan for a place in Karl Robinson’s starting side.

“We’ve got ourselves an experienced defender who has played in the World Cup and the Premier League. I think having good leaders around the place is important,” said the Dons boss. “It’s a unique one in terms of the mould of player we would usually go for but sometimes they are there to be broken if it’s the right type of player. He’s also a calming influence and a good character.”

Upson had made over 450 appearances in all competitions since breaking into the Luton Town first team in 1996. From Kenilworth Road he joined Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal in 1997 for £2million, and although he played 35 times for the Gunners in the Premier League, he struggled to establish himself as an automatic pick as he battled with the likes of Tony Adams and Martin Keown.

Frustrated at his lack of first team progress at Highbury, he joined Birmingham City in January 2003 in a deal which topped £3million. Four years later he was back in the capital when he joined West Ham United for £6million, and he spent four-and-a-half years at Upton Park before joining Stoke City in 2011. Before signing for Leicester City, he played 61 times for Brighton & Hove Albion.

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