Why Man United have struck gold with a new deal for Brandon Williams
According to the Manchester Evening News, Man United starlet, Brandon Williams, has committed his long-term future at Old Trafford, with the 19-year-old putting pen to paper on fresh and improved terms until June 2022.
The Crumpsall-born teenage sensation has enjoyed an unprecedented rise in United’s first-team under the stewardship of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer this term and was named Premier League 2 Player of the Month for September.
Williams, who rose through the youth ranks at Old Trafford, burst on to the scene in the U-18 Premier League during the 2016-17 season and featured in the UEFA Youth League in the following campaign before making a successful transition to the U-23 side the last term.
The 19-year-old left-back only made 5 appearances in the Premier League 2 in the previous campaign and featured predominantly for the U-18s but he has been fast-tracked into the senior ranks this term, with his talent and potential catching the eye of Solskjaer, who has made it a priority to blood up and coming academy prospects in the first-team.
Having made his England U-20 debut in August, Brandon Williams was handed his first-team debut for United in last month’s EFL Cup victory over Rochdale and the highly-rated starlet has capped off a fine start to the season by putting pen to paper on a new contract at Old Trafford.
The teenage prodigy started and played the full ninety minutes in United’s goalless draw away at AZ Alkmaar on Matchday 2 of the Europa League and was one of the few players to come away with some credit in what was another lacklustre team performance from the Red Devils.
Furthermore, he was an unused substitute in United’s shock 1-0 defeat at the hands of Newcastle United in the Premier League heading into the international break and Solskjaer’s love for homegrown youngsters means that the left-back is expected to enjoy more involvement in the coming months.
The likes of Angel Gomes, Tahith Chong, Axel Tuanzebe and Mason Greenwood have all been handed with opportunities to impress and it is not surprising to see that Williams has also been in the mix.
With Luke Shaw and Marcos Rojo reminding time and again that their health cannot be trusted and Ashley Young very much in the autumn of his career at 34, the door is wide open for a promising youngster like Brandon Williams to stake a claim for a first-team role.
Given that Rojo has been tipped for an exit in the near future, the 19-year-old is virtually United’s third-choice left-back at the moment and Young’s potential departure is likely to catapult him up to second in the pecking order behind Shaw next season, unless, of course, United invest in a new left-back to add more cover to their squad.
Regardless of what happens in the upcoming transfer windows, Williams is likely to get more opportunities if he continues to put in the hard yards on the training ground and the new contract can certainly be regarded as a vote of confidence in the youngster’s abilities.
Moreover, with United planning for the long-term under the stewardship of Solskjaer, they have every reason to look at the 19-year-old as a regular starter in the years to come.
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Ideally, a loan move to a Championship club is likely to be the next big step in his development but if United feel that he is already good enough to cut the mustard, they might as well look to keep him at the club and afford him enough minutes on the pitch.
Either way, Man United’s decision to offer Brandon Williams a new deal is definitely a step in the right direction and one that clearly highlights the club’s renewed trust in their academy prospects.