Name: Neco Williams
Date of Birth: 13 April 2001
Neco Williams – His career so far
Neco Williams is a young defender who was given a big chance by Jurgen Klopp in their famous Cup victory with a squad full of youngsters and even without the German gaffer out in the sidelines.
But the talent was certainly there all along and the Welsh international has been showcasing it through all academy ranks at Liverpool. He first joined the Reds at the U9 level but his progress has been quite rapid and he made his big debut with the U18 team in the 2016/17 season when he was still just a schoolboy.
By that point, however, he was already a well-established presence at the right-back position and it was clear he would make it his own regardless of the level he was playing at. The first part of the following 2017/18 campaign, unfortunately, started with an injury but following his return to action later that season, Williams debuted for the U23 squad where he is currently playing his football.
2018/19 was quite a season for him as well and he recorded appearances for all three of U18s, U19s and U23s. Probably the biggest moment of his youth career came in that same season as he was part of the victorious FA Youth Cup squad and he even netted a penalty during the dramatic shootout triumph over Manchester City in the grand final.
On October 30 in 2019, Williams made his first-team debut against Arsenal in the League Cup fourth round at Anfield, providing that big assist for Divock Origi.
Since then, he has played four more games for the seniors, boasting with a final tally of five games – four in the FA Cup and one in the EFL Cup – with three assists under his name as well.
There have been a couple of interesting transfer rumours concerning the 18-year-old Liverpool prodigy at the very moment. The big Liverpool news the Kopites will want to hear is the fact that he is reportedly set to be granted a big contract extension after clearly impressing Klopp with his performances.
The Anfield academy product’s deal should be prolonged so that it reflects his growing importance and status within the club.
But interestingly enough, there’s also a piece of quite contrasting transfer news out there as well since Williams has actually been tipped by Paul Robinson to spend the following season out on loan to ensure sufficient playing time and proper development.
Of course, having Trent Alexander-Arnold to compete with is not really an ideal situation for the youngster but having two reliable right-back options is definitely quality Liverpool news the fans can get behind.
It remains to be seen, however, what the future holds for the youngster.
In so many ways, Williams indeed does look like a possible replacement or at least a worthy substitute for Alexander-Arnold at Liverpool. After all, their player profiles are quite similar as both full-backs have the tendency to be a consistent and reliable presence in attack.
Just by observing Wyscout’s heatmap for the youngster, we can already see that he spends an approximately equal amount of time in the opposition’s and his own half of the pitch, highlighting this aggressiveness we’ve mentioned.
And while comparisons with his teammate are necessary if he is to progress even further, Liverpool’s first-choice right-back is still a much more confident passer of the ball and he takes much more risk than Williams himself.
In 2019/20, the youngster is averaging 7.6 long passes per 90 minutes and deploys 5.65 crosses per 90 minutes as well, indicating both his tendency to switch play and contribute to the attack.
But it’s really interesting to see that he averages 5.96 dribbles with 60.3% success and also attempts 1.95 shots per 90 minutes too. Finally, we have to mention some of his defensive traits such as 5.9 interceptions and 8.32 defensive duels per game with a success rate of an impressive 60.5%.
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