Liverpool full-back Neco Williams has insisted that he is reaping rewards every day he trains for the club, despite his lack of match action.
The Wales international sits behind Trent Alexander-Arnold in manager Jurgen Klopp’s pecking order. What’s more, only injury to the latter looks likely to allow him to earn significant Premier League minutes.
Williams has instead featured in the Carabao Cup, starring with an assist in the last-16 win over Preston.
Nevertheless, he has still only played 97 minutes across three matches this term. On the international stage, though, he is a regular feature. Williams put in one of his best displays last weekend, scoring as Wales beat Estonia 5-1.
Boss Robert Page revealed that he would encourage him and other players in his squad to seek January moves away to increase their game time and improve their form, ahead of their World Cup play-off in March.
But according to Williams, he has all the ingredients to make him a better player at Liverpool. Indeed, he noted Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane as inspirations on that journey.
“For me when I signed my contract [in 2020], the main thing was I needed to improve as a player,” the right-back told his club’s official website.
“And when I’m coming up against Mo Salah and Sadio Mane every day in training, it’s going to make me a better player.
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“I feel like I’ve matured in my game, especially when you’ve got Salah and Mane running at you every day. It is hard but it’s going to make me a better player and I feel like it definitely has helped me.”
Williams has only played seven Premier League minutes, with Alexander-Arnold Klopp’s firm first choice.
The Reds were willing to let the second-choice star leave on loan in the summer. In fact, Norwich, Burnley and a number of Championship clubs showed interest.
However, the 20-year-old has insisted that training drills with the likes of Salah and Mane are making him a better player.
Williams enjoying Liverpool spell
“Normally a day before a game we’ll do like an 11v11 with the starting team and the team who’s on the bench or the rest of the players,” Williams said.
“Obviously Salah and Mane are starting most games and to play against them near enough every day, it does feel great because it’s going to help me as a player.
“I’m learning off them and it gives me a little battle with them, so I’m enjoying it.”
Liverpool return to action on Saturday when facing Arsenal at Anfield in the Premier League.