Brandon Williams must now become Luke Shaw's Manchester United deputy

Young defender Brandon Williams signed a new contract with Manchester United this week.

The club’s official website reported that he had extended his deal at Old Trafford until 2022, with the option to extend for a further year.

But what are his prospects of building on his two appearances this season?

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has a reputation for playing youngsters but he needs to remove roadblocks from Williams’ path to the first team.

United must be ruthless with Young

Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images

Ashley Young has extended his Manchester United career far beyond its shelf life with a combination of versatility and desire.

He should not be a viable option for a club with United’s ambition, and yet he is currently Solskjaer’s backup full back option – on either side.

Young now needs to be phased out, with Williams taking his place as second choice left back.

Solskjaer’s reputation for playing youngsters is not quite justified; he has relied on the likes of Young, as well as Nemanja Matic and Juan Mata, when James Garner and Angel Gomes have been options.

And now the former Cardiff boss must clear the decks to allow Williams to flourish.

What can Williams offer?

Soccrates/Getty Images

One of the most important attributes a modern full back must have is the capacity to eat up the ground all match long.

Young lacks that sharpness, and his delivery and defensive work is not at the level expected from an experienced head.

Liverpool have shown with Trent Alexander-Arnold that a young full back can make a real impact if given an opportunity.

He showed against AZ Alkmaar that he has battling qualities, energy to burn and a decent delivery.

For as long as the likes of Young are blocking the path, Williams might expect to go the same way as Cameron Borthwick-Jackson, brought into the side in an injury crisis under Louis van Gaal but now on loan at Tranmere.

Thoughts? Comment Below
Sam Preston is an NCTJ gold standard news and sports journalist who studied with the Press Association. He also has a 2:1 law with French law degree from the University of Birmingham, which included a year studying at Bordeaux Montaigne University. He is an FA Level 1 football coach who appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show in 2018 and has also written digital football content and match-day programme pieces for Colchester United, Mansfield Town and Stockport County.