Captain Williams wants to be close to his Wales team

ASHLEY Williams, the former Swansea and Everton defender, has turned down big-money moves overseas in an effort to help lead Wales to Euro 2020.

The Wales captain is a free agent, after leaving Goodison Park at the end of his contract this summer.

He spent last season on loan at Stoke in the Sky Bet Championship, where he played 37 games in all competitions.

Williams, 34, knows his country face a huge battle to qualify from Group E, and believes he needs to stay on home territory to remain in manager Ryan Giggs’ plans.

“Everybody who knows me is aware of how passionate I am about playing for Wales and captaining the team,” he said.

“I’ve had offers from abroad, and I’m not opposed to going elsewhere. But staying in the UK is my priority, whether it be in the Premier League or the Championship.

“They are the leagues I need to be competing in to stay involved with Wales. It was difficult at Stoke, and we didn’t have the best of seasons. But for me, personally, it went well.

“It was a different challenge than the Premier League, and difficult with the number of games, but I enjoyed it.

“I’m still in good shape and still able to do what I was doing six or seven years ago. I played 37 games last season and while it wasn’t a great campaign, I think we still had the

third-highest number of clean-sheets in the division.”

Williams’ long-term aim is to go into management, and he is working towards earning his coaching badges through the Welsh FA.

He has played club football for some of the biggest names in the game, including Sam Allardyce, Michael Laudrup and Ronald Koeman.

But Brendan Rodgers, his manager when Swansea were promoted to the Premier League in 2011, inspired him the most.

“There are things I will take from all the managers I played for, even if I didn’t necessarily agree with them at the time,” he said.

“For me, Brendan Rodgers was the complete manager. It’s not often you see a dressing room which is completely happy and together. But he managed to achieve that.

“What stood out was the way he got the players up for training every day, and he showed great enthusiasm. He’d be someone I would be looking to model my managerial career on.

“When you’re the manager, you are the captain of the ship. It’s your job to include everybody in everything, from top to bottom at the club.

“Chris Coleman was another excellent communicator with Wales, and his players would have run through a brick wall for him.”




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Posted by on Jul 12 2019. Filed under Sport. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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