Charlton Athletic midfielder Jonny Williams has opened up on how much of an influence manager Lee Bowyer has been since he has arrived at the club.
The 25-year-old Welshman is currently the joint-top assist maker in the division with four in five games, helping the club reach third place in the division.
Despite this, Williams and Bowyer have had a formidable start together – and the midfielder couldn’t thank his boss enough for the start he’s had, noting that the pre-season and manager has been a huge reason for why he’s had such a strong start.
He told the club website: “I’ve had a full pre-season thankfully because of him. Had he not invited me along with the team I don’t know where I’d be at right now fitness-wise, whether I would have played as much as I have right now, I probably wouldn’t…
“The end product is something I’ve always wanted to work on and it’s something that’s been missing from my game and if I keep working on that it might be nice to get on the end of a few chances but Bowyer’s just telling me to keep making the box and chances will drop. I’ll just continue to do that but it’s a pleasure to work alongside him and I’m really enjoying my football at the moment.
“He’s given me the belief. The main thing is, he’s believed in me as a player, I haven’t always had that in my career. It helps in my game sometimes if the manager puts his arm around me at times. At [Crystal Palace] I didn’t have that. I was kind of having to find it within myself and I wasn’t really showing the player that I am today. It’s down to him really, believing in me and giving me a chance.
“He’s definitely been helping me on my defensive side, it’s made me fitter for a start. He’s working on all the aspects of my game going forward and tracking back, it’s something you see Lyle doing week in, week out. Even [Tomer] Hemed, he’s not been here long, and you’ve see him tracking back to the left back position.”
Jonny Williams has been one of the standout players for Charlton this season, and it is really interesting to hear how much the confidence that Bowyer has shown in him has resided in his performances.
Assisting four times in five games is one thing, but the quality of some of them have been outstanding – and game-changing. For example, in his last assist versus Brentford (see below), it was the only goal in the game – and the qualities he showed are exactly those that Bowyer is said to be working on him with.
Jonny Williams’ tenacity
Conor Gallagher’s finish
— Charlton Athletic FC (@CAFCofficial) August 25, 2019
As mentioned in the previous quotes: end-product, defensive ability and fitness were all things which Bowyer had worked on and factors which are all shown within that assist. Not only does Williams put in a fantastic sliding tackle, but he’s also got the resilience and fitness to travel with the ball before slipping in an inch-perfect pass to Connor Gallagher who slots home.
His statistics show that he has been a revelation this season at The Valley. He averages 1.8 key passes per game – the most for anyone in the squad who’s played more than 90 minutes, averages a dribble per game and gets fouled an average of 2.8 times per game, far more than anyone in the squad, all stats per WhoScored.
It’s encouraging for both Charlton, Williams and Bowyer who are all feeding off each others success in the early stages of the season.
Williams and Charlton both seemingly share a determination at the moment which has been orchestrated by their previous struggles. Both have had difficult circumstances in recent years and arguably deserve more: Charlton have struggled financially and have had their hands tied with Roland Duchatelet being unable to sell the club; Williams has had countless loans and set-backs and has been unable to find a home where he is appreciated.
Together they are now fighting at the level they believe they deserve to be.
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