Jordan Williams: From Liverpool reserves to Wales via Swindon

Jordan Williams
Williams has made one senior appearance for Liverpool
Euro 2016 qualifiers: Cyprus v Wales
Venue: GSP Stadium, Nicosia Kick-off: 19:45 BST, Thursday, 3 September
Coverage: Live on BBC Radio 5 live, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru and online.

One morning recently Jordan Williams turned on his phone following a morning's training session with Swindon Town and was taken aback at the unusual number of messages waiting for him.

A Liverpool player with one senior appearance for the Anfield club, 19-year-old Williams is on a season-long loan at League One Swindon, where he is an ever-present in the league so far this season.

But the centre-back, who can also play as a midfielder, had not been anticipating a place in the senior Wales squad.

So the first he knew of the call-up for the Euro 2016 qualifiers against Cyprus and Israel was when he switched on his phone, and found out what a lot of other people already knew.

"I had texts on my phone saying 'Congratulations' and I didn't know what they were on about to start with," Williams said.

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"A few times in the squad it's said J Williams - Jonny Williams who plays for Crystal Palace - so I thought it was him and I was like, 'It can't be me.'

"But then I checked it and it was me so I was delighted.

"I played for the Under-21s last season but since then I've been at Swindon I've been playing regular football. I've got that experience that I've needed to maybe push on into the first team and it can only benefit me."

Swindon 'clicking' after summer changes

Bangor-born Williams, who has represented Wales at various youth levels, made his Liverpool debut as a substitute in the Capital One Cup tie against Middlesbrough during the 2014-15 season.

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He was among the scorers from the spot in the Reds' record-equalling 14-13 victory on penalties.

In order to gain first-team experience, Williams spent the end of last season on loan at Notts County before joining Swindon for this term.

Williams has helped Swindon to eighth, with Saturday's defeat at home to Sheffield United their first of the campaign, but missed the Football League Trophy win at Newport and will not feature against Crewe because of his call-up.

"I'm obviously gutted that I'm missing two games but I'm sure the lads will do the job," Williams said.

"We've started off well but maybe we could have won more games than we have.

"The squad's brilliant and we're clicking now. It's taken a bit of time because in pre-season players were coming in and players were going out."

Wales on the brink of history

Williams is the latest youngster to be called up by Chris Coleman into the senior Wales squad and joins up at a decisive moment for the national side.

Coleman's men have a three-point lead at the top of qualifying Group B with four games remaining.

Wins over Cyprus and Israel in their next two matches would be enough to seal Wales' place at a major finals for the first time since 1958.

The sense of history is not lost on Williams, who counts Ryan Giggs and Gary Speed as his Welsh football idols.

Wales' remaining Euro 2016 fixtures
Thursday, 3 Sept (19:45 BST): Cyprus v Wales (GSP Stadium, Nicosia)Saturday, 10 October (19:45 BST): Bosnia-Hercegovina v Wales (Stadion Bilino Polje, Zenica)
Sunday, 6 Sept (17:00 BST): Wales v Israel (Cardiff City Stadium)Tuesday: 13 October (19:45 BST): Wales v Andorra (Cardiff City Stadium)

"We've always had to watch England, our biggest rivals, in the World Cup and the Euros," Williams added.

"Just for us to be involved with something like would be an incredible experience and a lot of us can't explain what it would mean for the country.

"We've always had good players in Wales but getting to the World Cup and the Euros has been hard for us and for players to show what they can do.

"Everyone's excited for the future with Wales and if we get to the Euros it will be incredible."

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