Brandon Williams is coming into his own and it’s happening right at the time that Manchester United needs him the most. The young academy graduate has racked some excellent statistics and looked in fine form while competing in the UEFA Europa League group stage.
The 19-year-old hometown here could make his first ever Premier League start tomorrow against Brighton & Hove Albion, as United look to enter the next international break on a positive note. Williams has been pressed into action as United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has forced down the depth chart at left back.
First choice Luke Shaw, the team’s reigning player of the year, has been out since August. The second choice at the position, Ashley Young, is suspended tomorrow, so we will likely see the native Mancunian Wiliams in the first team.
You also have a host of United defenders who remain out long term with injuries, so Williams will have to help anchor down the back line. He’s certainly impressed a couple of his South American teammates, goalkeeper Sergio Romero and defender Marcos Rojo; both of which see in Williams the kind of player who is prevalent in their native continent.
“For me and Marquitos – because we’ve been chatting about this – seeing him play is like watching one of us play – a South American!” Romero told the United match day program (h/t Manchester Evening News).
“The commitment he shows, the way he feels about football, he never gives any ball up as a lost cause.”
“At the age of 19, he has the mentality to be able to demand the ball and to be always on hand for his teammates. He didn’t want to just get rid of the ball. He would be waiting for a pass and if it’d didn’t come he’d be shouting for it. All that is very reminiscent of us South American players.”
“We grew up playing on dirty pitches, always wanting to be on the ball ourselves. We could see that in him in Serbia. We’d already spotted that in earlier games where we’d seen him feature, too, either in the Europa League or in the cups.
“But his performance in Serbia, where there was a lot of pressure and it wasn’t an easy game at all for a youngster, he really stood out for all those reasons: for wanting the ball, for his passing and his movement, how he closed down and how he slid into tackles and made his blocks.”
Manchester United vs Brighton & Hove Albion FYIs
Team news for both sides: go to this link
MUFC starting XI Prediction: go to this link
Kickoff: 2 BST, Nov 10, Old Trafford
Google Result Probability: Manchester United win 57% Draw 27% Brighton & Hove Albion win 16%
Form Guide: Brighton & Hove Albion- WWLWL United- LWDLD
Odds via Betway: Manchester United win 8/13, Draw 14/5, Brighton & Hove Albion 5/1
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, the author of “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” regularly appears on WGN CLTV and co-hosts the “Let’s Get Weird, Sports” podcast on SB Nation.