Brandon Williams has rejected the criticism aimed at Harry Maguire and says “I genuinely don’t get it” and he has also addressed Cristiano Ronaldo’s influence on the Manchester United dressing room.
Williams, 22, who has yet to make an appearance this season, believes Maguire is being unfairly criticised. It’s a big week for the centre-back having lost his place in Manchester United’s line-up.
Maguire has joined up with England having not played 90 minutes for a month. Erik ten Hag dropped the defender after the defeat at Brentford with new signing Lisandro Martinez getting the nod from Ten Hag.
Maguire has appeared as a sub since for United but he is firmly down the pecking order at Old Trafford.
For England though he has been a mainstay for Gareth Southgate, starting every game at Euro 2020 after he recovered from injury. He was a standout performer en route to the final and he has started four of the last five England internationals.
He is expected to start against Italy despite his lack of first-team action at Old Trafford and Williams is baffled by his team-mate’s treatment.
“Harry will go into training a hundred percent every day. Harry will give, whether he’s starting the game, whether he’s not starting the game, one hundred per cent,” Williams told Sportsman.
“We don’t care about the outside world because the only thing that matters is the opinions on the inside. The opinions on the inside are the most important.
Williams: Maguire is a top fella
“If you’re doing well in training, who’s some little idiot sat on Twitter that’s going to tell you that you shouldn’t be starting a game. Who is he? I genuinely don’t get it. Harry is a top fella. Top captain and top player.”
Williams, who can play as a left-back or right-back, spent most of last season on loan at Norwich City. He made 26 Premier League appearances for the Canaries but they were relegation to the Championship.
He was expected to go out on loan again, but a move never materialised before the September deadline. An injury blocked his progress in pre-season and he has been wary of returning too soon.
“Some of these things can be difficult sometimes,” said Williams. “You have got to be careful with them because if you come back and it’s not sorted, and you have two games, that is not enough to impress people. You can have a bad game and that might be your first game back, but people might not accept you.
“For me it’s just about getting back to my hundred percent, showing the manager what I can do and going into training and proving that to him.
Ronaldo ‘talks to everybody’
“It’s easier said than done saying ‘I can do this and I can do that’. It’s about showing it and putting it onto the field and putting it into matches. I’m just really excited to do that.”
Speaking about Ronaldo, Williams refused to say anything negative about the Portugal legend.
The 37-year-old was trying to force an exit from the club in the summer and ESPN claimed he was a “divisive figure” at Old Trafford.
“I wasn’t there when he first came back, but since I’ve come back, he’s been a massive influence,” said Williams. “He always talks to me. He makes sure that he doesn’t leave anybody out. And he just talks to everybody. He’s not ‘I’m the superstar here, I’m not going to talk to anyone.’
“He gives me advice. He talks to me. And he has a joke with me. It’s just normal stuff. When you have a colleague that’s a footballer because at the end of the day, he’s a colleague of mine.”