Brandon Williams admits he wasn't 'one of the best'
Brandon Williams has admitted he 'wasn't one of the best players' when he first joined Manchester United's youth ranks.
Our young full-back appears on the latest UTD Podcast, available to listen to on all your favourite podcast platforms from Monday evening.
In the episode, Williams talks about how he saw himself as inferior to many of his peers when he first turned up at The Cliff as a child.
Brandon opens up on the ‘jealousy’ he felt when he saw the skills of players such as Mason Greenwood and James Garner – and how that impacted on the position he would eventually play for the Reds.
“I went to The Cliff when I was seven and met everyone, some of them are even my closest mates now,” Williams said when asked how he got started at the club. “Some have stayed and some have gone but I’m still really close with them.
“From then on it’s just been year by year, getting through each year and making sure I get a contract for each year and then obviously getting to be the player I am now.
“My dad took me to my first game at Old Trafford and I just fell in love with it. From then I was just a mad United fan. I wasn’t really happy when I went to The Cliff because I was used to being in school and being the best player, but when I went there I wasn’t one of the best players really! I was down there in the bottom group.
“Mason’s always been there [as one of the best players]. James Garner he was up there as well. There are a few players who are not here as well now.
“I was jealous at the time because they were skilful and everything. I think that’s why I went further back, because I was a striker but now I’m a defender.”
Indeed, it was current first-team coach Kieran McKenna who set Brandon on his path to playing at left-back, where he broke into the United team and was one of the Premier League’s outstanding teenagers in 2019/20.
Brandon has featured for the Under-23s at right-back this season and sees his versatility as giving him an advantage over those who are specialists in one position.
“There were about three players at right-back and only one at left-back,” the 20-year-old continued.
“Kieran was the youth team manager at the time and I ended up playing on the left side for one game and from then I ended up playing there week in, week out.
“It started to get natural to me and comfortable to me. Now it’s a weapon for me because I can play on both sides, so it’s an option for me.”
In his 38 appearances for United’s senior side, Williams has become renowned for his no-nonsense style, with Gary Neville in particular praising the Harpurhey-raised defender’s dedication to the cause last season.
That win-at-all-costs mentality was also evident the very first time Brandon trained with the first-team pros, as he reveals…
“I was in the youth team squad and at that time there was many great players there so when I’ve gone over it’s been a real shock.
“It’s obviously nerve-wracking but you’re just excited to be there. People don’t really expect anything of you, so you just need to go out there really and show what you can do.
“I was flying in [into tackles] everywhere, I got a few to be honest.
“When you get that opportunity you want to impress and show the manager what you’re like, that’s the best thing you can do.”