Loan Watch: Williams continues Norwich development
Left-back Brandon Williams faced late heartbreak with loan club Norwich City this week as the Canaries conceded in added time away at Leeds United.
Dean Smith’s side were just a minute away from a crucial away point in the Premier League relegation battle when Joe Gelhardt scored Leeds’ second goal of the game and condemned Norwich to a 2-1 defeat.
It was a second defeat of the week for the Yellows, having lost 3-1 against Chelsea at Carrow Road on Thursday night.
Brandon played both matches in full, the sixth time this season he has played two matches within one week. The experience he’s gaining at Norwich is crucial to his development and the amount of playing time has been great to see.
As Nick Cox, Head of Academy, explained to us recently, loan moves can be chosen, whether at Academy or first-team level, for a variety of reasons. One of those reasons is simply the accumulation of game time.
“If you can get to 50 appearances you can maybe consider that it’s going to be your job, if you can get to 100, you might think it’s your career, if you get to 150, this might now be a top-level career,” he outlined.
“So you’re always trying to just see if we can help the boys, not just get to a debut but can we slowly build up experiences in games, first and foremost to prepare yourself for our first team, but as I say, if it’s not to be with our first team, to make sure you’ve got solid experience in the bank to make sure that you have a career that goes on for many years.”
Williams is obviously a part of the United first-team now, but the same logic applies. Accumulating appearances and having to regularly deal with the mental and physical challenges presented by a two-game week will benefit him long into the future. He has now played 26 times for Norwich, in addition to his 50 appearances for United.
Midfielder James Garner celebrated his 21st birthday this week with Nottingham Forest’s 4-0 win over Reading. Steve Cooper’s team are now three points off the play-off spots with a game in hand.
Coming up this week for Garner is an away FA Cup tie at Anfield as Forest look to continue their giant-killing run by knocking Liverpool out. The Reds have already beaten record-winners Arsenal and holders Leicester City.
United fans who want to keep up with Garner’s progress can watch that game live on Sunday 20 March (18:00 GMT) with the match broadcast on ITV in the UK.
Tahith Chong played the full match for Birmingham City in their 0-0 draw with Hull City. Centre-backs Teden Mengi and Di’Shon Bernard were unused substitutes for their respective sides in that game.
It was Mengi’s first inclusion in the squad in a month after suffering an injury. Birmingham are now 19th and Hull 20th, both teams some distance away from the relegation spots and just needing a win or two to propel them upwards into the midtable spots.
Goalkeeper Matej Kovar was on the bench for Burton Albion at home to Fleetwood Town and full-back Ethan Laird was not involved for AFC Bournemouth this week.
Ethan Galbraith started and played the full game for Doncaster Rovers in a 1-0 defeat at home to Gillingham. Rovers trailed after just a minute and tried to work their way back level all game but couldn’t manage it.
Amad was subbed on after 68 minutes for Rangers, replacing Ryan Kent as Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side knocked Dundee out of the Scottish Cup with a 3-0 win.
Anthony Martial helped Sevilla off the bench as the second-placed La Liga side came from behind to draw 1-1 away at Rayo Vallecano, for whom ex-United winger Bebe scored.
Donny van de Beek started for Everton in their 1-0 defeat against Wolves in the Premier League.