Brandon Williams.

Williams hopes to follow his United heroes in Europe

Brandon Williams hopes to emulate his Manchester United heroes by winning a major European competition with the club, but the young defender is not looking beyond FC Copenhagen and our Europa League quarter-final at Stadion Koln in Germany.

The 19-year-old only made his senior debut back in September and has racked up 34 appearances since then, becoming a fixture in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s squad and a popular player with the fans. 

It’s fair to say his has been a meteoric rise this campaign, yet Williams, who recently signed a new long-term contract, remains level headed and spoke with impressive maturity during our pre-match interview in Cologne on Sunday night. 

Here, you can read what Brandon has to say about the crucial last-eight tie, how he has inspired fellow youth product Teden Mengi and his excitement towards playing in front of a global audience…

Knockout European football, a quarter-final... these must be the nights you relish?
“Yeah I think playing for this club is an achievement in itself, but to be playing in the quarter-finals in Europe is something else, so we are all excited and we are ready for the game.”

Williams excited by the quarter-final stageVideo

It is just one leg, though, so does that increase the pressure?
“Yeah, I think so. One team is going through and one team is going home. We are confident that we are going to be the team that goes through so we are all prepared and excited.”

It has been a few weeks since the Premier League season ended, so does everybody feel fresh and ready to go again?
“I think everybody is ready and prepared to play, because we are going to need the legs. It doesn't take the 11 only. During training this week, everybody has been looking sharp.”

Is this almost a free hit for FC Copenhagen? United are always favourites to win, of course, and they showed what they can do against Istanbul in the last round...
“Of course, and they beat Celtic before that, so we are not under-estimating any opposition and we are focused. We know how they play, but we will just stick to what we do and I am sure we will go through.”
A year ago you had just been on the Under-23s' tour to Austria, you weren't on the first-team tour, but then from September onwards you were in the senior squad and now you're in a major European quarter-final. Can you believe what has happened?
“Yeah, it has all gone so far. It is down to me and my family, and all of the coaches at United who have put their trust in me. I have gone out and showed what I can do. Now I just want to play as many games as I can for the club.”

Teden Mengi said to us after his debut last week that he has been inspired by what you have done and that made him think it is possible for him...
“It was the same for me, watching the like of Marcus [Rashford], Jesse [Lingard] and all of the others who have done it before. You always believe that it can be you, if you put in the work, the manager will see that and he is going to have trust in you. When I came off and I was on the bench for the LASK game, I was just so happy for Teden.”

United v FC Copenhagen: Press conferenceVideo

We have finished third and got into the Champions League for next season, but how important is getting a piece of silverware?
“I think it will be a really good boost going into next season and it is something that most players need. Obviously for me as a young boy, it is going to be a massive achievement for me being a United fan from young, watching them win all of the big trophies, so this could be a starting point for us.”

As for this place, hopefully it is going to be our home for the next few weeks! The game is kicking off at 9pm local time and it's still quite warm...
“I am getting sweaty now so I can't imagine what it will be like when I am running about! But I am just excited to play in front of the world, because no other football is getting played at the minute.”

Finally, it's just a shame there won't be thousands of United fans in the stadium, right?
“It will be different and the fans will be missed, but it is down to us to put that energy that we normally get from the fans into the game.”

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