At just 20-years-old, Liverpool right-back Neco Williams already has plenty of footballing accomplishments to be proud of. He made his senior debut for the Reds at just 18 and earned himself a league winner’s medal after making six appearances in the squad’s title-winning 2019-20 campaign. He’s also featured in 17 matches for the Welsh National Team, including three appearances during Euro 2020.
Despite this, the youngster has struggled to earn much action for his club, thanks in large part to having to compete for minutes with the best right-back in the world, Trent Alexander-Arnold. His role has mostly been as a late-match sub with the occasional start in FA Cup and League Cup games.
However, Williams isn’t letting the stiff competition deter him, and he is looking at the new year as a chance to earn more playing time and show what he can do.
“I think most players have goals and targets for the new year, to be honest,” Williams told the official Liverpool Matchday Programme. “New year is a time to set goals and see if you can succeed in achieving them.
“For me that is playing games, trying to get as much game-time as I can, doing well, and trying to contribute assists when I’m playing.”
Much like his fellow LFC fullbacks, Neco has a very attack-oriented mindset when he takes the pitch. He wants to get forward and help create chances, and he plays in a system that allows, and even relies on, this style of play.
“Every time I play the main focus for me, when we’ve got the ball, is getting assists. The way full-backs have developed in the last few years, especially as Liverpool, it is all about trying to get as many assists as we can.
“You see it with Trent [Alexander-Arnold], with Robbo [Andy Robertson], and with Kostas [Tsimikas], and myself - we are all trying to help the team score to win games.”
It’s not just assists the Welshman is after though. He is also hoping to finally open his scoring account for the Reds this year as well.
“I’ve got two for Wales but none for Liverpool so I’m setting it as a target for the new year to try to get on the scoresheet,” said Williams.
“How will I celebrate? It’ll probably be natural, depending on how the game is, but I’ve always liked a knee-slide. I did that for Wales when I scored and so maybe if I score for Liverpool and it is the right time then a knee-slide might come out.”
Another motivation to earn more minutes for Liverpool is that the game-time will help him earn more chances to play for Wales. Playing for his country is clearly a point of pride for Williams, and after playing at Euro 2020 he is hoping to experience the thrill of playing for The Dragons in a major tournament again someday.
“I can put it up there,” the Welshman said of where Euro 2020 ranks in his career highlights. “It’s always a dream come true to play in a major tournament and not many people can say they’ve played in the Euros for Wales.
“To be able to play in it, and make appearances for my country, was surreal. Hopefully, there will be many more appearances to come if I can keep improving as a player and keep performing.”