The Athletic journalist Simon Hughes has recently discussed Liverpool’s young, English defender Rhys Williams.
Following the recent injuries to centre-back duo Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez, who are expected to miss most of the season (per BBC), one possible short-term solution could be Williams.
Three of those five appearances for Liverpool came in the Champions League, in which he helped the club to keep a clean sheet against Ajax, FC Midtjylland and Atalanta.
During the latest episode of The Ornstein & Chapman Podcast, Hughes made an appearance and the journalist discussed the youngster.
He said: “I know the club, inwardly, really like Rhys Williams, I remember speaking to Alex Inglethorpe two or three years ago and I said to him, ‘Who do you think could be the next one through the academy?’ and I hadn’t heard of Rhys Williams at the time.
“He did say, ‘I think he’s got a really good chance’ and I was quite taken aback by that. So, when he went to Kidderminster on loan again, I was like, well, that’s not really a natural path of progression.
“They obviously wanted him to experience men’s football and what it’s like to play for three points.
“I know Jurgen Klopp’s been very impressed with him, but to throw him into this situation where it feels like the whole season could rest on whether he performs or not, I think it’s a big ask of any young player in a position which is a key position.”
TIF Thoughts on what Simon Hughes said about Rhys Williams…
Williams’ prospects of filling in for either Van Dijk or Gomez in the coming weeks may have since taken a blow after having to pull out of the England U21s’ match against Albania on Tuesday night with an injury of his own – though Young Lions boss Aidy Boothroyd insisted he was only carrying a ‘very minor‘ hip problem.
However, as can be seen in what the journalist had to say about Williams, he believes that the youngster is well thought of at the club, although it may not be the ideal situation for him to cut his teeth in Liverpool’s first team.
Do you think Rhys Williams should get a run in the first team?
No, he's not ready
Yes, he seems ready
Over the three appearances which the defender has made for the Reds in the Champions League, he has earned a 6.53/10 average rating, which has made him their seventh-worst performer in the competition (per WhoScored).
So, perhaps it is clear to see why the journalist believes that the player may not be ready for regular Premier League action for Liverpool, as his stats would suggest he has plenty of room for improvement.