Wiliams working hard to get up to speed
Brandon Williams admits he has been playing catch-up after a spell on the sidelines but has been working overtime in a bid to learn Erik ten Hag's methods and structured gameplan.
The homegrown defender made his first appearance under the manager in the previous round of the Carabao Cup, against Burnley, and has been back in the matchday squad for a couple of Premier League games since.
The quarter-final tie with Charlton Athletic may provide another opportunity for minutes for the full-back, with the boss needing to rotate his squad to handle a crammed fixture schedule, and Williams is determined to make the most of any chances that come his way.
The training camp in Spain during the World Cup provided the perfect platform for the 22-year-old to really get in tune with Ten Hag's methodology and he will be keen to show the traits and expertise the boss wants in his full-backs.
In an exclusive interview published in the matchday programme for the cup tie with Charlton, Williams left no doubts about his determination to fight his way into the side.
“It was tough," he said of the winter trip overseas. "It was something I needed as well, obviously being out with a long injury and coming back, it was difficult to probably get some concentrated training. But, with the World Cup being on, I got a kind of mini pre-season and it helped me as well. Walking back out on the pitch in a United shirt is something that I love to do and want to do many more times.
“I just love playing every single time, the feeling doesn’t go from my first appearance to that one," he said of reappearing at Old Trafford in the Burnley clash. "There’s no difference. It’s an honour to be out there and, like I’ve said, I just want to make many more appearances."
Williams is clearly hungry for a chance to impress and has pledged to push on in 2023 after the long spell on the sidelines last year.
"Even being on the bench, just waiting for that opportunity," he explained. "When I do get an opportunity, I will take it. I’ll show the manager what I am capable of. It’s been a hard couple of months because I’ve been taking in so much information and learning the manager’s gameplan and the way he does things. I really enjoy that and enjoy learning it and I feel really positive.
"It's a lot of information. I’m still catching up, playing catch-up, and learning every day by doing extras to try to get to that level.”
Williams is at the right age to absorb the information and kick on, hopefully providing options in both full-back slots due to his versatility.
“I’ve definitely got an understanding for the game now," he added in United Review. "I’ve been in professional games for three or four years now. It’s a long time of learning different gameplans. We’ve got this gameplan now and I’m looking forward to these next few years.
"I learned that [playing on either flank] from a young age and now I enjoy it on both sides. I enjoy playing anywhere, as long as I’m playing, I don’t really care. I’ll do the job. I just enjoy playing football.”