One year ago, in Columbus, Ohio, Danny Williams started for the United States men’s national team against Jamaica and put in a performance which cemented him into the starting XI in the opinion of many USMNT fans. One year later, after falling out of favor at Hoffenheim and putting in several sub-par games with the U.S., Williams finds himself in the English Championship with Reading FC and out of the USMNT picture completely.
However, things are back on the upswing for Williams, who started his first league game ever for his new club earlier today in a 0-0 draw with Brighton.
According to our friend, Josh Aspinall, the editor at Vital Reading, Williams is fitting in quite nicely. He’s been playing primarily on the wing, a position USMNT fans will be familiar with seeing Williams as U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann frequently played Williams wide in 2011 and 2012.
Apparently, Williams is also still working on eliminating the occasional bad giveaway from his repertoire, something U.S. fans might remember from the friendly with Russia last November.
However, Williams is still only 24 and the Reading faithful are liking what they see, overall. The full text of their e-mail (sent Thursday, before his first start this weekend) is below.
It’s early days, but the impression myself and fellow Reading fans are getting is that Williams has the potential to be a great player for us. He is yet to start a game in the league for us, mainly because our current centre midfield options have been our best two players so far this season. However, Williams has made some fine cameo appearances from the bench.
His style of play is very direct, in that he likes to make aggressive, driving runs from midfield, which is useful when coming on as a substitute. Williams comes across as very composed on the ball, but can be prone to a silly error or slack pass on occasion. I would expect him to start a game soon, as our manager is now reverting to a diamond 4-1-2-1-2 formation, with Williams playing on the right of the diamond, almost playing as a winger.
Also, he doesn’t seem to shy away from a confrontation on the pitch! On two occasions now I have seen him go toe-to-toe with a player over a bad challenge, but certainly nothing malicious – his disciplinary record with us has been good so far. Like I said, I expect Williams to start more games soon and hopefully us Reading fans will then see into the other parts of his game.
John D. Halloran