There was a lot of excitement about Brandon Williams when he broke into the Manchester United first team in 2019.
United turned to Williams amid an injury to Luke Shaw and for a short spell, the England ace was not missed.
Now in 2021, Williams is in a tricky situation at United as he prepares for a loan move. The Athletic report Williams is expected to seal a move to Norwich City this week.
Williams needs to change his situation
Last season it felt like Williams was more likely to play for United’s under-23 side than the first team.
As it stands, Williams is third choice left-back behind Luke Shaw and Alex Telles.
At right-back, Williams is at best second choice on par with Diogo Dalot, and the worst case scenario is next year he ends up as fourth choice if Ethan Laird continues his progression.
Williams though has an advantage over Laird, he will be playing Premier League football.
The youngster must use the platform and chance to play regular football to shine, like he did for United 18 months ago, winning plaudits in the process.
A lack of regular game time has seen United fans’ belief in Williams dip.
Is he destined to be another promising United youth product who has a strong career elsewhere like Michael Keane or Danny Simpson, for instance, or is he capable of reaching another level while at Old Trafford?
The next year will be crucial for Williams, and he needs to use it to move up the pecking order.
What does success look like for Williams?
Williams in a best case scenario will force his way into the England squad with his performances for Norwich.
An ideal situation would see him help the Canaries comfortably avoid relegation, playing very well defensively while chipping in with a handful of goals and assists, to help him catch the eye.
Proving his quality as a top Premier League left-back could convince United to sell Alex Telles in 2022, and make him the true competitor again to Luke Shaw.
Frequent showings at right-back are less likely for Williams, with Max Aarons the regular in the position. But if this is the position where Williams plays at Norwich, then Williams will hope to secure a spot as a true number two to Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
What Williams won’t want, is to come back to United in the same position or worse next summer. He needs to use this period to change his situation, rather than return next year as another spare part, looking to be loaned once again.
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