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Brandon Williams’ new contract shows Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s commitment to youth

On Tuesday it was announced by the official Manchester United website that 19-year-old fullback Brandon Williams had signed a new long term contract at the Old Trafford club club. The left-back has now extended his contract until the 2024 season, with the option of a further year to be added. This season, Williams made 33 appearances at first team level, scoring one goal and two assists, also playing six times at youth level, not scoring any goals bus assist five.

Williams made his debut in the Carabao Cup match against Rochdale, winning 6-5 on penalties. From there, the player made himself a first team regular following an injury to Luke Shaw finding his feet at first team level and not once putting his head down. He scored his first goal in a 3-3 draw against Sheffield United at Bramall Lane, assisting goals against Partizan Belgrade in the UEFA Europa League and against Norwich City in the Premier League.

The mere fact that the player, 19, has risen up to the first team showing the signs of a true United player, not holding his head down when a result did not go their way and continuing to chase the ball after losing it, and keeping chase of a player who managed to get past him. These are all great signs from a player so young and making his way at first team level. The fact he has followed Mason Greenwood is not a fluke, he really is a player that could reach some dizzy heights at United.

On signing his new contract, Williams revealed that it was a proud moment for him and his family having been at the club since he was seven, some 12 years previously. It is something he can feel proud of being that the club has confirmed that they want him around for the next four to five years, something that shows Solskjaer’s faith in the youth at the club, which is clear to see. Speaking to the official Manchester United website, Williams said:

“Signing this contract is another really proud moment for myself and my family. Having been at Manchester United since I was seven years old, it’s genuinely a dream come true to be playing in the first team. It has taken a huge amount of hard work to reach this point and it has been really special for me to break through into the squad.

“I’ve learned a lot throughout the season from the manager, his coaching staff and my team-mates and I want to repay the trust that they have all shown in me. I know that everyone at the club is working really hard every day to achieve success in the coming years and I am really excited to be a part of that.”

Solskjaer, speaking about the 19-year-old’s new contract at the club explained that he had an excellent first season at the club and that his new contract was testament to his hard work and the progress that he has made since his debut against Rochdale to his performance in his last match, which was the final Premier League match of the season with United beating Leicester City 2-0 to finish third in the Premier League and therefore earn a place in the UEFA Champions League next season. Solskjaer said:

“Brandon has had an excellent first season, so we are delighted that he has signed a new contract. This new deal is a real testament to his hard work and the progress that he has made since his debut.

“Brandon never looked back after stepping up from the Academy and, having come all the way through the system, he understands what it means to play for Manchester United.

“He has all of the attributes required to be a member of this exciting young squad. He will continue to learn every day in training and we look forward to watching him develop over the coming seasons.”

Williams’ rise to the first team will be something that the liked of James Garner, Teden Mengi, Ethan Laird and even Hannibal Mejbri will be inspired by. United will promote youth players to the first team when the manager feels they are ready. Sir Alex Ferguson did it often but the club lost its way during the management tenures of David Moyes, Louis Van Gaal and of course Jose Mourinho. The club is back on the right tracks now under Solskjaer who has entrusted many youth players, some of whom have earned their places in his squad, showing the conveyor belt of youth players that chances are there to be earned and that if you do well, are there for keeps, as long as the player is progressing.

Written by John Walker

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