Premier League • England

International boss would ‘encourage’ Liverpool star to leave for better role

Wales manager Rob Page, November 2021

Wales manager Rob Page has revealed that he is backing the likes of Liverpool full-back Neco Williams to leave in January for more game time.

The Red Dragons have enjoyed a solid end to 2021, capped off by Tuesday’s 1-1 draw with Belgium. Their final international break of the year has proved an impressive one, too, factoring in last Saturday’s 5-1 win over Belarus.

The final two results in Wales’ World Cup qualifying campaign saw them secure a play-off semi-final spot. They will play that game in March at home, too, after finishing second behind Belgium in Group E.

Before then, though, Page has insisted that some of his players can improve their form. Liverpool right-back Williams is one such player.

He is behind Trent Alexander-Arnold in Jurgen Klopp’s pecking order at Anfield. What’s more, he has only played 97 minutes across three games this term.

However, his goal against Belarus in one of his best performances for his country showed his true potential to Page. Indeed, the manager reminded the players of what it means to play top-level international football.

“The players want to be playing football, how can they not?” Page told Wales Online.

“When you are involved in games like that [against Belgium], you can’t buy that feeling.

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“When you have come off and you have played really well and you listen to the supporters, you can’t buy that.

“They will want to re-create that week in, week out. Players will want to play games.”

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Only injury to Alexander-Arnold is likely to allow Williams into the Liverpool side in the Premier League. Although, he has featured in the Carabao Cup to great effect, notching an assist in the last 16 win over Preston.

As a result, Page has insisted that he is “encouraging” the likes of Williams and Tottenham’s Ben Davies to find more game time elsewhere.

Liverpool star receiving transfer encouragement

Harvey Elliott, Neco Williams, Xherdan Shaqiri, Kostas Tsimikas celebrate scoring first Liverpool goal Carabao Cup third round match v Lincoln at LNER Stadium

“For whatever reason domestically they don’t [get game time], that is fine, every manager has his own opinions. I can’t influence that,” Page added.

“All I can influence is encouraging the players to want to go and play domestic football, whether it is at their parent club or elsewhere.

“That is what we are encouraging them to do.

“Certainly when you have got all the players we have had for this camp fit and the creativity we have in the team and the goals we can score, you want them all playing to be in the best possible shape for Wales and it will be no different in March.”

Striker Divock Origi is another Reds player who has been urged to leave to get more game time

Both him and Williams are in with a shout of starting Liverpool’s Carabao Cup quarter-final against Leicester in December.