6:08am Wednesday 5th March 2014
HE’S been dubbed the Welsh Andreas Iniesta, but Jonathan Williams only focus at the moment is establishing himself at club level and impressing Newport’s Tony Pulis, writes Michael Pearlman.
And Williams believes his revival can be perfectly timed after tipping Wales to qualify for Euro 2016.
The 20-year old is currently on loan at Championship outfit Ipswich Town, having failed to establish himself at parent club Crystal Palace since the appointment of Pulis.
However, with the former Stoke boss and contender to become Wales boss, Pulis, now at the helm at Selhurst Park, a Welsh invasion in South London has followed.
Cwmbran’s Danny Gabbidon, Williams and Lewis Price already play for the Eagles and Joe Ledley and Wayne Hennessey were added in January.
Pulis has also made it abundantly clear that Williams does have a future under him.
"When I first came in Jonny had an injury," he told reporters. "He looked a bit rusty and in need of games. To be fair to him, he's trained a lot better during the last couple of weeks, and we needed to get him out to get some games.
"It had to be a club and a manager that we were happy with and Ipswich fit the criteria on both counts. It's a fantastic football club that has fantastic facilities and great support, and Mick McCarthy is a very good manager who will look after him.
"Johnny needs to play games. Whether we extend his loan we will decide in a month's time. Does he have a future at the club? He has a massive future at this football club."
Now Williams simply wants to impress in both the blue of Ipswich and the red of Wales.
“It’s been an up and down season for me, the injuries, I’ve been unlucky and I’m back fit now and need game time, the decision to go to Ipswich was the right one.
“It’s been tough, but I want to finish the season on a high.
“I’ve signed a new contract since Tony Pulis arrived, I want to be involved and hopefully we can stay in the Premier League.
“We are building a Welsh connection at the club, we only need about three more and we could field a Welsh XI!
“It’s great to have so many of the lads around and we do get some stick from the other players, all the Welsh boys sitting together at dinner!”
Williams is extremely optimistic on what the future holds for him at national level.
“I am really looking forward to this game, we’ll be looking to win and I’m delighted to be back in the Wales set-up,” he said.
“My first reaction was to be excited; looking at the teams in the group I would say we are probably the second best team.
“Belgium will be getting better and better, but we showed we can get a result against them.
“It’ll be Israel away, Andorra away; they’ll be the games we need to pick up points in.”
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