Neco Williams: The Shining Young Star Of Welsh Football

Neco Williams

Neco Williams is a bright young livewire of Welsh Football. While he is already in the midst of a rapidly rising professional career, his World Cup debut with the Wales National Team is going to be more iconic (for now). Prior to this, Wales had only qualified for the World Cup in 1958. The young Neco Williams is going to do a critical job in holding up the defence of the Welsh squad. In this post, we will find out more about him. Let’s get started.

Neco Williams: All You Need To Know

When was Neco Williams born?

Williams was born in 2001 in the small rented Wrexham-Wales and from the age of eight he joined the lower divisions of Liverpool with Alexander-Arnold one position ahead of him. His debut as a professional was in October 2019, when Liverpool and Arsenal drew 5-5 in the Carabao Cup, where he qualified for the next round from the penalty spot (5-4). However, it was not until December 17 of that same year that Neco had his second appearance as a starter, losing 5-0 to Aston Villa in the same competition, while the first team was preparing to debut in the Club World Cup.

How did Neco Williams get started with football?

Despite his young age and few minutes on the pitch, Williams established himself as the starting right back in the FA Cup, where Liverpool did not have great success because he devoted himself fully to the Premier League and the Champions League. He played three full games, facing Shrewsbury Town (home and away), against Chelsea, losing 2-0 and being eliminated in the fifth round. Even so, this new project of 183 centimeters, formed in the defensive zone with three other undisputed starters; Joel Matip, Virgil Van Dijk, and Andrew Robertson, referring to the match against The Blues and drawing the attention of the fans and coaching staff.

With more than 11 games and 760 minutes played in Premier League II, Neco Williams was promoted to the first team for the return of football after the break due to the pandemic. He had no minutes against Everton, but in the 4-0 win against Crystal Palace at an empty Anfield Road, he had his moment to make his debut in the local league, replacing Alexander-Arnold (scorer of the first goal of the match) in the 74th minute. In that game, he was effective in his attack and firm in the defensive tactical scheme of the German coach, a supporter of new homemade talents.

Does Neco Williams play for Liverpool?

The 19-year-old Welshman has already made his Premier League debut with Jurgen Klopp’s team, and is an option at right-back after Trent Alexander-Arnold.

The inclusion of the five changes and the departure of Nathaniel Clyne due to the termination of his contract has been the perfect opportunity for the Welsh youth Neco Williams, who has carved out a space for himself in the Premier League champion’s first team. Together with other youth squads such as Curtis Jones, Harvey Elliot, and Adam Lewis, the right-back has been a pioneer and a standard bearer for the new generation of Liverpool FC, with the confidence of Jürgen Klopp in between and the opportunity to compete in the established English team without the pressure of achieving a goal already accomplished by The Reds.

When a young man debuts, there is something good and something bad. His second presence in the Premier League was in the atypical, but unimportant, defeat against Manchester City 4-0, after having celebrated for days the Premier League title that took 30 years to arrive. His entry was in the 76th minute and he replaced the already recurring Alexander-Arnold, a player with whom he fights for the position of right back and whom he could definitively replace in the event of an eventual departure from the club. That option of keeping the title in the coming seasons gains strength in the British newspapers in the event that Liverpool’s current owner finds new directions in the European leagues and has similar skills in the style of play.

How good is Neco Williams?

Neco Williams stands out as a right back. However, in his FA Cup and Carabao Cup matches, the Welshman had important incursions in attack, especially reaching the last third of the pitch in the center of the pitch. He is characterized by good vision and punch, similar to what Trent Alexander-Arnold has shown since his debut with Liverpool. Likewise, his good technique with the ball makes it easy for him to penetrate down the wing to resolve, mostly looking for the nine in the area.

In the 2-0 victory against Aston Villa, Williams came on in the 94th minute, and although he had no role in the match, his replacement was left-back Andrew Robertson, as in Liverpool’s most recent victory against Brighton when the number 76 started for that band for the first 45 minutes, implying that he can also stand out on the left and playing with a changed profile, something that is not usual in the position. On the other hand, being over 180 centimeters tall, Neco Williams has shown good resolution in the defensive aerial game, counteracting the changes of front and set pieces by the rival team and which usually become the biggest shortcoming of the top defenders worldwide.

According to statistics of 365 scores, Neco Williams had 35 successful passes out of 39 made, which represents 90% effectiveness in the games he faced Crystal Palace and Manchester City where he spent 35 minutes on the pitch. Also, his average performance is 6.9, but in his start against Brighton, he had a 6.5 rating playing the longest amount of time since his presence in the Premier League. Without a doubt, at 4 dates of the term, it will be necessary to analyze if Klopp will give him minutes (considering that the title is insured). 

Has Neco Williams signed with Nottingham Forest?

The historic Nottingham Forest continues to strengthen for its return to the English Premier League, a competition to which the two-time European champion (1979 and 1980) was promoted on May 29 after a 23-year absence. If yesterday Sunday the ‘tricky trees’ announced the incorporation of the left-back  Omar Richards from Bayern Munich, this Monday it was the turn of the young Neco Williams (21 years old), who is definitively separated from Liverpool, to whom he had been linked for the last 15 years, and signs a four-year contract, until 2026.

How much did Nottingham Forest buy Neco Williams for?

The Welsh right-back, for which the Anfield club will receive 16 million pounds -about 20 million euros-, said goodbye with an emotional message broadcast through his social networks, in which he assured that “it has been an honor play for this club and under Jürgen Klopp. But now I have decided to take on a new challenge,” Williams, Forest’s sixth summer signing, wrote.

When there were still 26 days left for the start of the Premier League, the ‘reds’ had already invested almost 70 million euros. And it is that to the 20 that Williams has cost, we must add the 8.5 of the aforementioned Richards and the 40.5 that cost between the Nigerian Taiwo Awoniyi (20.5, Union Berlin), Giulian Biancone (10, Troyes) and  Moussa Niakhaté (10, Mainz).

Goalkeeper Dean Henderson arrived on loan from Manchester United to fill the gap left in goal by Brice Samba, promotion hero and new Lens player from France.

Despite having been one of the most wasteful teams in the past summer market, Nottingham Forest will compete to avoid relegation. The Tricky Trees, who have spent 148 million Euros (more than Real Madrid, Manchester United, Manchester City or Bayern Munich) do not raise their heads in the Premier League. After 7 days, they only accumulate 4 points and are placed penultimate in the table.

Although at the individual level footballers like Dean Henderson, with 29 saves (third highest league record) or the good performance of signings like Neco Williams or Taiwo Awoniyi, who already has 2 goals, the team does not start. The reds add only 1 point away from their fiefdom, being almost impossible to maintain the category with these statistics.

Steve Cooper, architect of the historic promotion to the Premier League, 23 years after wandering through the catacombs, will have to change a lot. Nottingham will have to add several victories in the difficult month of October, in which they will face Brighton, Liverpool, or Arsenal, in order to continue their journey in the highest division of English football.

How active has Nottingham Forest been in the transfer market?

Nottingham Forest has just returned to the Premier League after 23 years of absence, but that’s not what prevents the club from being one of the most active in the transfer window. The Reds have shelled out 69 million Euros so far, sixth in total spending among top-flight teams. The need to readjust to the elite, with a cash injection that allows it and the money of Greek tycoon Evangelos Marinakis help explain Forest’s aggressive stance. There are already six new players, tying with Leeds for the teams that have made the most additions. The latest signing is Neco Williams, who was bought from Liverpool for 20 million euros.

How is Neco Williams going to impact Liverpool?

Neco Williams presented himself as a great promise of Liverpool’s youth categories. At the club since age six, the right-back had morale in the smaller teams and made his first appearances in the first team at the age of 18. The problem was the competition from Trent Alexander-Arnold, who didn’t give the rookie many chances. There were 33 matches with Jurgen Klopp’s team in the last three seasons. The defender wanted more sequence and, even for that, he arranged a loan to Fulham in January. He had good prominence in the final stretch of the Championship, with two goals and two assists in 14 appearances. 

At 21, Williams needs space, even thinking about Wales. The full-back has been in the squad since 2020. He participated in the European Championship and won the position during the tournament. Already in the Qualifiers, he was the starter on the left wing, which sealed qualification for the World Cup. The athlete’s competitive pace will be important for the Welsh to return to the World Cup after 64 years. Transferring to a club where he will start was the most logical step for the youngster, even more so when he will remain in the Premier League showcase.

So far, Fulham has a more contained transfer window. They didn’t seem inclined to pay what Liverpool wanted for Neco Williams. That’s when Nottingham Forest came into play. As much as the full-back is promising, the transfer value is inflated by the rules for players trained in the Premier League. Furthermore, the Welshman arrives to supply a need at the City Ground. Forest couldn’t keep Djed Spence, a right back who stood out in the access campaign and, on loan from Middlesbrough, should follow Tottenham soon. With less bargaining power than the Spurs, the team looked for an alternative and found a great one in Neco Williams.

“Forest is a club with an incredible history and the City Ground is a very special stadium that I can’t wait to experience at full volume. I’m really excited to join Forest and help this great club move forward in the Premier League. I spoke to the coach, there is a lot of ambition being shown and I want to join my teammates soon to be ready for the challenge ahead,” said Williams.

It is worth remembering that Liverpool had guaranteed the replacement on the right side by looking for Calvin Ramsay, an 18-year-old winger revealed by Aberdeen and elected the best youngster of the last Scottish Championship, which cost 4.9 million euros.

Most of Nottingham Forest’s reinforcements this transfer window focus on defence. Dean Henderson is the new goalkeeper, on loan from Manchester United, with Brice Samba leaving for Lens. The centre-back adds Moussa Niakhate (Mainz 05) and Giulian Biancone (Troyes), while Neco Williams and Omar Richards (Bayern) are the new full-backs. The only offensive news is Taiwo Awoniyi, brought in from Union Berlin, although the renewal of Brennan Johnson was great news after the midfielder’s highlight in the access campaign.

Another important issue is that, although Nottingham Forest spends a lot, the investments fall under several names. The club’s most expensive signing, at 20.5 million euros, Awoniyi is only the 16th most expensive in the Premier League transfer window. The Reds fill the group more to make it competitive. There is also greater confidence in young people, with the average age of reinforcements hovering at 23.7 years, spearheaded by the young Neco Williams. There is no right formula for permanence and some clubs that have invested a lot have also done badly in recent years, as has already happened with Fulham itself. However, no one will be able to criticize the Nottingham Forest management for inaction.

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