Monday 11 November 2019

Superb Williams showing United's youth is in good hands

The standing ovation was fleeting, but telling. With Brighton beaten and the tie in its final moments, the board went up signalling Marcos Rojo's arrival into the action. As Brandon Williams left the pitch, Old Trafford rose as one. It was acknowledgement for the latest member of the Carrington conveyor belt. A young man that has been touted for stardom for a while now had come of age before our eyes.
We shouldn't get carried away but it's hard not to when watching such a young player do so well. Willams' attributes look a perfect fit for what I perceive a Manchester United player to be. Solskjaer has given debuts to four teenagers since taking charge a year ago next month, but not all have looked as instantly at home.

The 19-year-old, handed his first Premier League start albeit perhaps by co-incidence than design, was immense.
With Ashley Young suspended and Luke Shaw still injured, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer opted to select Williams from the off ahead of Rojo and it proved to be an inspired decision. The full-back won four of his five tackles, registering a pass completion rate of 88 per cent and making five ball recoveries across the 90 minutes.
He was aggressive; he wasn’t intimidated, stood his ground when challenged and frequently surged forward. After years of suffering Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young, we finally have a pair of young, dynamic energetic full-backs worthy of the name. On this evidence, it's becoming difficult to leave Williams out. Shaw faces a battle to get his place back when he returns from his latest injury setback. The 19-year-old Mancunian illuminated United's mind numbing stalemate with AZ Alkmaar last month on his first start, made a late league debut against Liverpool and continued his upward trajectory against the Seagulls.

He was nominated for the Man-of-the-Match award alongside Marcus Rashford, who scored our final goal, and Daniel James, who was a constant nuisance for the Seagulls' defence throughout the afternoon. Williams - selected as part of United's youngest ever Premier League line up - got the nod as the pick of bunch for Solskjaer's side. He proved that the clamour for his inclusion wasn't merely just hype.
If the question is whether Solskjaer should be given time, his faith in youth provides the answer. It wasn't so long ago that United's youth policy was on its knees, with the U23s relegated, the facilities outdated and a jumbled collection of discombobulated pieces supposedly in charge. With Solskjaer's former team-mate Nicky Butt now at the helm, United's age group sides are thriving again and the first team are reaping the rewards.

Solskjaer has put his faith in the club’s emerging talent and United’s hierarchy insist he still has their full backing, despite such a turbulent campaign.
The Norwegian says he is prepared to risk his own position for the greater good of the club by developing players like Mason Greenwood – even if it means United have to wait for success.
Williams is a right-footed left back like former United and Irish international full-back Denis Irwin, because he switched sides at under-16 level at the suggestion of coach Kieran McKenna. Williams had the highly rated Ethan Laird ahead of him at right back.
Of all his young players, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer rates Williams along with Greenwood as the ones most likely to succeed at Old Trafford.

Everyone knows that United are a club to pride themselves on putting faith in youth, and for all the questions facing Solskjaer, his trust in the club's Acamdey has provided an emphatic answer.

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