Daniel Williams motivated by glimpse of senior opportunity
Swansea City midfielder Daniel Williams is determined to use his tantalising post-lockdown glimpse of the first-team setup as fuel to kick on in the season ahead.
The 19-year-old recently penned a fresh one-year deal with his boyhood club, with the option of an additional 12 months.
Williams, who has been with the Swans since under-eight level, made 11 appearances for the under-23s during the 2019-20 season – his first as a professional – including two during the development side’s run to the Premier League International Cup quarter-finals.
Although he missed nearly four months with a broken metatarsal sustained while on international duty with Wales Under-19s, the central midfielder’s consistent performances were enough to earn him a new deal in SA1.
But having failed to find the net during the season, Williams is eager to put that right in the forthcoming 2020-21 campaign.
He is also hopeful that his displays will eventually lead to a first-team debut under Steve Cooper.
“I’m delighted. I’ve been working hard over the past year for this contract, so I’m chuffed to get one,” he said.
“I’ve supported the Swans all my life and they’re the team I want to play for.
“I was a bit nervous as the time was ticking down, so I was relieved when I got the offer.
“My main goal for this season is to be involved with the first team as much as possible. The only way to do that is through my form with the under-23s.
“The gaffer has shown that he’s willing to throw the younger players in. Hopefully, this will be my year to get on the pitch.
“I also feel like I need to add more goals to my game. I didn’t score last season, which was quite disappointing, so I definitely want to put that right as it will help me get noticed, as will turning in consistent performances.”
Williams enjoyed a taste of the senior environment during the back end of last season, regularly training with the first-team squad after the Swans returned from lockdown.
The midfielder was the 21st man for the victory over Bristol City in the final home game of the regular campaign, as well as the play-off semi-final first leg against Brentford.
He did not make the squad on either occasion but took plenty of confidence from Cooper’s decision to have him around games of such magnitude.
“I worked hard during lockdown to be in the best shape so I could be ready for when I came back,” Williams added.
“After lockdown, I felt like I did well and training with the first team definitely helped me improve as a player.
“It was nice to be involved and see what it’s like on a matchday with the first team.
“It was good to see how the players approach a game, pre-match, meetings, and in the dressing room before and after the game.
“I learned how concentrated they all are and it’s very quiet compared to before an under-23 game.
“Looking back, I really enjoyed it and even though I wasn’t on the bench, it’s nice to know the gaffer was thinking about putting me in the squad.”