[U18/21s] The RoShaun Williams Thread

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Rise To Fame: RoShaun Williams


At just sixteen years of age, very few Manchester United fans will have heard the name RoShaun Williams before, but that hasn’t stopped the young defender from breaking records and fast-tracking himself towards a potential first team future at Old Trafford.


A former England U16 international, Williams is best known for his electric pace and last summer broke a 25-year-old school sprinting record held by Olympic gold medallist Darren Campbell. The United youngster ran the 100m in 10.99 seconds, breaking Campbell’s Ashton-on-Mersey School record of 11.13 seconds, which was set all the way back in 1989. To put such ferocious speed into context, Williams’ record time is just 0.05 seconds short of the slowest time recorded in the opening round of the London 2012 Olympics.


Despite such incredible athletic pedigree, Williams has always dreamt of a future in professional footballhaving signed for United at the age of nine. He believes he is at the right club to be given the opportunity to achieve that dream too, citing Ryan Giggs’ short stint as caretaker manager as an indication of Manchester United’s attitude towards giving young players a chance in the first team.


“Ryan Giggs is my hero I suppose because he has stayed with the club, and when he was acting manager he gave young players a chance.â€


At such a young age, RoShaun Williams still has many years left to hone his technical game to match the natural athleticism that has become apparent during his teenage years. Darren Campbell, himself a United fan, has heaped praise on the young defender, conveying the hope that he might become the next young star to graduate from United’s Academy into the first team.


“I’ve always said anyone who can run under 11 seconds has got a lot of natural speed, it shows that he’s got massive ability.

“I wish him all the best.â€


In spite of his age, Williams became a key part of the U18’s side during 2014/15, forming a solid partnership with Axel Tuanzebe at the heart of the defence. He played 26 times for the Under-18’s, featuring as a right-back on multiple occasions and demonstrating his ability to play in more than one position – a prerequisite for any player hoping to work their way into Louis van Gaal’s senior Manchester United squad. His hard work and impressive performances throughout the season earned him a call-up to Warren Joyce’s U21 side for the final game of the season, playing the final 23 minutes as he came off the bench against Manchester City. To feature for an U21 side at the tender age of just 16 is mightily impressive, even before you consider the quality of the side that Williams was able to break into – United were Under-21 champions and RoShaun Williams forced himself into contention for playing time.


His promotion to United’s U21 side, albeit brief, is just another demonstration of his burgeoning potential. Joyce had the luxury of selecting Victor Valdes, Robin van Persie and Radamel Falcao in his side in the final few months of the campaign, which only serves to highlight the immense level of competition surrounding that team and proving what a tremendous accomplishment it is for a 16-year-old to be considered for selection too.


The young defender has not only achieved recognition at club level but internationally too. He has been capped by England at U16 level and made his debut in October 2013 as a fifteen-year-old, when he captained the side against Wales in The Victory Shield. Should he continue to develop as he has done, then we should expect to see him represent England at more than just the one age level.


Continuing to look ahead, RoShaun Williams will be hoping to catch the eye of the United manager Louis van Gaal. Having given so many youngsters a chance in his first season in charge, most notably James Wilson and Paddy McNair, the Dutchman has again declared his intention to give the younger players an opportunity during the pre-season tour of America.


“I shall take a lot of youngsters with us to the USA.


“They have the chance to show themselves and then we shall wait and observe how they can develop. You get your chances always, especially in pre-season and,

when you grab that chance, you have maybe the possibility to join us next season.â€


If Williams is to be one of those to go with the squad on tour this summer then it would be a remarkable rise to prominence for the youngster. At just sixteen years of age, that kind of exposure to the first-team squad would prove to be an invaluable experience and would benefit his development immeasurably. This coming season could prove to be crucial for the young man. It may be a little early to consider him for regular senior football, but establishing himself in Joyce’s line-up will become a priority for a young player keen to make his mark on the first team at Old Trafford. For the fans of a club like Manchester United, it’s always exciting to track the progress of the young players to see who might be the next to make that final step and that will be no different with RoShaun Williams; a talented young boy with a big future ahead of him.



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