There is an age old belief within football circles that you cannot win anything with a side dependant on youngsters, yet me being the firm believer in youth development that I am, I cannot help but hope that the young stars of the future on display at the 2016 UEFA European Championships take this opportunity that fate has afforded them to make the world of football sit up and truly appreciate the magnificence that these wunderkinds have been created to grace us with. A plethora of talented players will be keen to showcase their talent in the 15th edition of the UEFA European Championship; we at GSV would like to hone our binoculars in on the u/23 players that will be looking to etch their mark on the global game, without further ado, we present to you the UEFA EURO 2016 Young Guns To Watch. Prendre plaisir!
Full Name: Jonathan Peter Williams
DoB: October 9th, 1993 (22)
PoB: Pembury, Kent; England
Nationalities: English, Welsh
Position/s: Deep-Lying Playmaker, Box-To-Box Midfielder, Attacking Midfielder, Advanced Playmaker
Height: 1, 70m
Club: Crystal Palace Football Club
Club Career Record: 117 Games, 3 Goals, 11 Assists
National Team Record: 13 Caps
The Grand Stand View
The universal adoption of a 3-man midfield created the desire to develop midfielders that were often designed to play in one of the 3 designated roles, resulting in players that were, more often than not, less balanced than before when it comes to the defending and attacking aspects of the game. The trend may be gradually changing, as more teams see the need for players that are actively able to play well on both sides of the ball, a prerequisite in the modern age of relentless high pressing football.
Jonny Williams is a throwback to the old-school number 8, a player that excels on both sides of the ball; tirelessly getting about the pitch closing down players, putting in challenges and distributing the ball about with ease, the Wales midfielder is a joy to watch in full flow. A gifted dribbler with the ball at his feet, Williams is always a willing runner that stretches opposing sides with or without the ball; able to pick out a pass and capable of having a decent pop from range as well, the lad is a well-rounded player that adds bite and quality to a midfield.
Wales, under Chris Coleman, have opted for a 3-6-1 like high pressing structure that demands a lot of running and mobility from all the players, particularly the midfielders; Jonny Williams has the quality and the stamina to link that midfield together and keep the team ticking over, while providing a reliable foil for the defence. The versatility of a player like Williams also allows him to come in off the bench and play a myriad of roles under different circumstances, without diminishing his output or quality, something that will come in handy during a gruelling tournament at the end of a tough season for many players.