- Previous Player Borthwick-Jackson
- Next Player Warren
An athletic defender whose sprinting prowess was well known locally, even before he had even made a real mark at Under-18 level.
Local newspapers covered the fact he broke Darren Campbell's 100-metre record at Ashton-upon-Mersey school, which had stood for 25 years, and he is never beaten for pace. Despite looking older, he was still a schoolboy in 2014/15 so did remarkably well to rack up 27 appearances, all but one of them as a starter, more than any of those in his age group. His one goal was one he will savour as it came in the Manchester derby with the Reds running out 5-2 victors. With Axel Tuanzebe promoted to the Under-21s, he took over the captaincy of the Under-18s but eventually forced himself into Warren Joyce's plans as well, ahead of schedule. By the end of the title-winning season, he had cemented a place in the line-up and began looking the part, gaining experience from partnering the likes of Phil Jones as well as continuing his exceptional partnership with Tuanzebe. A quiet individual who is growing in stature on the field, he joined the club from Fletcher Moss as a nine-year-old after being invited to the development centres. "Obviously, everyone wants to be a striker as they always get the most attention but I’ve mostly been a defender," he told ManUtd.com. "I moved to the back when I was young, 10 or 11 maybe. I’m a centre-back who can play right-back sometimes but I usually play in the middle." International recognition has been forthcoming for Williams, who made his England Under-19 debut in November 2016 having previously played for his country at Under-18 level and in the Under-17 World Cup in Chile. "It was a great experience," he said. "It was weird travelling so far but my first World Cup at youth level. We could have done better as we didn’t get out of the group. It was really good to play well but it’s more about the team rather than my own performance." The future continues to look very rosy for Williams as he has already twice been named on the bench at senior level - for the 2015/16 home games against West Ham in the FA Cup and Liverpool in the Europa League. A knee injury curtailed his progress in the following season, even though he still looked a class act during his Reserves outings. It all added up to a frustrating time for the centre-back, who found himself working hard in the gym with Joe Riley in a bid to regain fitness. Hence, the 2017/18 campaign was all about getting the continuity back in his game and he managed this with 19 appearances at Under-23s level and a place as one of the senior figures in the set-up. He also captained the Under-19s in the UEFA Youth League and was an excellent ambassador for the club during the emotional trip to Belgrade in that competition.
"Back at the Aon Training Complex there’s a different changing room for the first team so I just come in and train, but now I’ve got to know the people so it’s good."