Neco Williams has been called upon 13 times in all competitions for the Reds this season as he’s helped the team cope with injuries and rotation needs.
The 20-year-old Welsh international spoke to Premier League Productions about his experiences in a red shirt so far. As a childhood Red, his experiences thus far have been a dream come true.
“He has played a massive part in my career so far. From when you’re a little kid, you always dream of playing for the team you’ve always played for. For me to be at Liverpool since I was six and to come through the stages and to make my debut was a surreal moment for me. It’ll be a moment that I never forget.”
He debuted in the Premier League last season, and remembers that moment fondly.
“My Premier League debut, I didn’t actually know that I was going to come on or play. I had an idea because we were 4-0 up, we had dominated the game and I was just thinking to myself that maybe this is a chance to come on and show what I’m about. Luckily, I got warm and [Jürgen Klopp] called me, so I went straight back up to my seat, got changed quickly and went straight down and came on.”
“It was a massive moment for me, making my Premier League debut. For me, it’s definitely one of the best leagues in the world and one of the toughest leagues in the world, with the quality of the players and the sides in today’s game. So to play in that and especially to make it when we won the Premier League was a surreal moment.”
Williams also speaks fondly of his relationship with his manager, as Klopp’s supportive talks have helped him cope.
“He is like that for all the players, as soon as you have maybe a few bad games or a bad game he will be the first one to come up to you and go through things you need to improve on or what you can do better. He also tells you what you’re good at.”
“That just gives you that confidence to go out and keep going on the training ground or playing out on the field. He has played a massive role in my career so far, as in he has helped me go through the bad times, I’ve matured in a way off him because he has taught me the more senior side of the game. He has taught me a lot since I made my debut.”
Manager Jürgen Klopp is not the only supportive figure he’s encountered at Liverpool — he has senior players looking out for him as well.
“I’ve had help off a lot of players, more the senior players, the more experienced ones. Obviously James Milner – he has helped me a lot because he has been around for a while now and he has had that experience. He helps me a lot if I’m doing well, what I need to improve on. Or if I’ve had a few bad games, he’ll tell me what I need to improve on. He has played a massive part.”
“And obviously the likes of Jordan Henderson, Adam Lallana when he was here, they played massive roles. They just help you a lot. But that’s not just with me, that’s with all the young lads who come through or even all the team, everyone speaks together to see what we need to improve on and what we need to do. They have helped me a lot since I made a breakthrough and came up here.”
While he loved playing a part in a title-winning campaign, Williams speaks, too, of how much he has learned and developed over the challenge of this season.
“This season is more of a learning curve, I’m gaining the experience and I’m learning new things every day. Obviously this season hasn’t gone how we wanted it. For me, it’s more of a learning curve and to take things on board to learn off this. I’m sure that’s the exact same for all the other players and all the other young lads. This is just a learning curve and this is gaining more experience for what’s to come in the future.”
Despite the challenges, he doesn’t feel a pressure, and instead focuses on the opportunities he’s being presented with.
“I wouldn’t say the pressure is on but I think when you do come in you do need to take your chance, because we’ve had a lot of injuries this season and that hasn’t helped us at all. When someone is in your place and they do get an injury, you need to come in and not just for yourself but for the team you need to give 110 percent for the team and you need to give everything to do what that person in front of you was doing before he got injured.”