Brandon Williams' first season achievements were pretty special
There has been a lot of speculation about Manchester United adding a new left-back, with Sergio Reguilon the name regularly linked.
Forbes report Reguilon is not subject of a bid from United currently, with manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer happy with his left-back options.
If there is one thing we have learned about Solskjaer, it is that he will give his young players room to grow. His controversial decision not to sign a striker last summer allowed Mason Greenwood extra opportunities to step up.
So as much as Sergio Reguilon may improve United in an instant, it follows suit that Solskjaer will give Brandon Williams the chance to build on his breakthrough season.
Williams an inspiration to other young players
Not all young players in United’s academy are fast-tracked to the top like Greenwood was at 17. In fact Greenwood is the exception.
Williams is a more realistic player for the academy talents to look to follow. Like Marcus Rashford, he got his opportunity in the first team due to injuries in front of him, and seized his chance.
What should not be forgotten is quite what big a jump Williams made last season.
He began the campaign playing in United’s EFL Trophy match away at Rotherham United, and ended it starting in the Europa League semi-final.
Williams turned 20 earlier this month and he potentially has a very big season ahead.
This past year he played 36 first team matches. Before the season, Williams probably would have settled for just six, if it had been offered to him, having not even travelled on United’s overseas tour.
His appearances included Europa League knockout games, and three semi-finals. It was a case of being thrown right in at the deep end.
There were games where it wasn’t quite perfect, but surely this should be expected of a then teenager across 2,439 minutes of football in his debut season.
Williams should not be dismissed as ‘not as good as Reguilon’ in simple terms, as if he does not have anything more to offer.
This is a young player who is only going to get better with more playing time, more experience, and more confidence.
So it will not be surprising at all if Solskjaer elects to stick with him as the main challenger to Luke Shaw at left-back.
Given the huge jump forward Williams made in 2019/20, why not give him the chance to make another significant stride in 2020/21, and see if he can further improve?
Competition for places is healthy, and signing a player like Sergio Reguilon won’t hurt United, but we should appreciate what we already have too.
Considering England’s lack of options at left-back, it would not be a surprise if a successful season for United leads Williams to Euro 2021 along with Luke Shaw next summer.
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