Ashley Williams (footballer)
Williams playing for Wales in 2011
|Full name||Ashley Errol Williams|
|Date of birth||23 August 1984|
|Place of birth||Wolverhampton, England|
|Height||1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)|
|West Bromwich Albion|
|2008||→ Swansea City (loan)||3||(0)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 18:27, 18 September 2016 (UTC).
Ashley Errol Williams (born 23 August 1984) is a professional footballer who plays as a defender for Premier League club Everton and as the captain of the Wales national team. He plays mainly as a central defender.
After being released from West Bromwich Albion as a teenager, he played for non-league side Hednesford Town before turning professional at Stockport County in 2003, later becoming their captain. In March 2008, he was loaned to Swansea City, and after helping them win League One, signed for a club record £400,000. He amassed 352 games for the Swans, scoring 14 goals. He aided them in their promotion to the Premier League and their victory in the 2013 Football League Cup Final. In August 2016, he signed a three-year contract with fellow Premier League side Everton.
Born in England, Williams qualifies to play for Wales through his maternal grandfather. He made his debut for them in March 2008 and has since earned over 60 caps. He captained the team at UEFA Euro 2016 where The Dragons made it all the way to the semi-final, losing 2–0 to Portugal who were the eventual winners.
Born in Wolverhampton, West Midlands, Williams began his career at West Bromwich Albion as a youth player but was released by the club at 16. He went on to play for non-league Hednesford Town, before joining Division Two side Stockport County in 2003. Williams later became captain of Stockport, and was still at the club when he made his international debut. In November 2007, Williams won both the inaugural North-West League Two Player of the Year Award and the North-West Player of the Year Award.
In March 2008, Williams signed for Swansea City on loan until the end of the 2007–08 season, with a view to a permanent move. After helping Swansea win the League One title and, with it, promotion to the second tier of English football for the first time in 24 years, the move was made permanent for a reported £400,000 – a club record transfer fee at the time.
On 16 September 2008, Williams scored his first Swansea goal in a 1–1 draw against Derby County. The defender impressed during his first season at Championship level, eventually going on to be named the 'Wales Footballer of the Year' at an FAW awards dinner in November 2009. Williams also picked up the 'Clubman of the Year' award at the same event.
After finishing in eighth position during their first Championship campaign, Swansea improved on their position by one place the following season, missing out on a play-off position by a single point. Williams was part of a defence that conceded only 37 goals during that campaign, and was selected in the 2009–10 Championship PFA Team of the Year at the end of the season.
The 2010–11 season saw Swansea and Williams gain promotion to the Premier League via a play-off final win at Wembley. Williams was named in the Championship PFA Team of the Year for the second consecutive season. The season also saw him equal and surpass a club record of 106 consecutive matches, previously jointly held by Andy Legg and Gilbert Beech.
Swansea's first Premier League season began with a 4–0 loss at eventual champions Manchester City, but the club went on to finish the season in eleventh place. On 24 September 2011, Williams scored his first ever Premier League goal in a 4–1 loss at Chelsea, after heading in a Mark Gower free kick.
In October 2012, Williams signed a new three-year contract with Swansea. The club's second season in the Premier League saw a ninth-placed finish and a first major trophy win in English football for Williams and Swansea, following a 5–0 win over Bradford City in the 2013 League Cup final on 24 February 2013. After captaining the team during the final at Wembley, Williams lifted the trophy with club captain Garry Monk, who had come on as a second-half substitute.
In July 2013, after acting as captain for the majority of Swansea's games during the previous two seasons, Williams was handed the club captaincy on a permanent basis after Monk stepped down from the role. On 4 July 2014, Williams signed a new four-year contract with Swansea. On 19 April 2015, he was selected in the Team of the Decade at the Football League Awards.
On 10 August 2016, Williams joined Everton on a three-year deal for an undisclosed fee. He made his debut ten days later as a substitute in a 2–1 win against West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns, and three days after that he made his first start for Everton, in a 4–0 EFL Cup win at home to Yeovil.
Williams qualifies for the Wales national football team through his maternal grandfather Bill Rowlands from Gelli in Rhondda. He made his international debut on 26 March 2008, two days before securing his move to Swansea City. In the game, he played the full 90 minutes for John Toshack's men in their 2–0 friendly away win in Luxembourg, making an early error through a poor backpass to goalkeeper Lewis Price, but recovered possession in time.
On 1 April 2009, Williams scored an own goal in a 2–0 loss to Germany in qualification for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, deflecting Mario Gómez's cross at the Millennium Stadium. He captained the country for the first time on 14 November, in a 3–0 friendly win over Scotland at the Cardiff City Stadium. On 11 October 2010, he scored his first international goal in a 5–1 friendly win over Luxembourg in Parc y Scarlets, finishing a header from debutant Steve Morison.
In October 2012, Williams was appointed captain of Wales by Chris Coleman, replacing Aaron Ramsey. Coleman, who by that point had not won in his four games, gave the armband to Williams on account of his experience over the younger Ramsey. The decision was criticised by Raymond Verheijen, assistant to Coleman's predecessor Gary Speed.
On 31 May 2016, he was named in Coleman's 23-man squad for UEFA Euro 2016, Wales' first major tournament for more than half a century. On 1 July in Lille, Williams headed the equalising goal, against Belgium in the quarter-finals as Wales eventually won 3–1 to progress to the semi-finals for the first time in their international football history. In the semi-final, Wales lost 2–0 to Portugal with both goals coming in the opening ten minutes of the second half from Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani respectively.
In December 2010, Williams established the charity WillsWorld with his wife Vanessa, with a view to helping under-privileged children. He is also a patron of Street Football Wales which fights social exclusion, and the Ethan Perkins Trust, which raises funds for research, support and awareness into childhood brain tumours.
|Club||Season||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Other[nb 1]||Total|
|Hednesford Town||2001–02||Southern League||2||0||0||0||—||2||0||4||0|
|Stockport County||2003–04||League One||10||0||—||—||—||10||0|
|Swansea City||2007–08||League One||3||0||—||—||—||3||0|
- Includes appearances in the UEFA Europa League, Football League Championship play-offs, FA Trophy, Southern League Cup, Staffordshire Senior Cup and Birmingham Senior Cup
- As of 5 September 2016
|Wales national team|
- As of match played 1 July 2016. Wales score listed first, score column indicates score after each Williams goal.
|1||11 August 2010||Parc y Scarlets, Llanelli, Wales||21||Luxembourg||4–1||5–1||Friendly|
|2||1 July 2016||Stade Pierre-Mauroy, Villeneuve-d'Ascq, France||64||Belgium||1–1||3–1||UEFA Euro 2016|
- Football League Championship play-offs: 2010–11
- Football League Cup: 2012–13
- The Football Manager Team of the Decade: 2015
- Hugman, Barry J., ed. (2010). The PFA Footballers' Who's Who 2010–11. Mainstream Publishing. p. 437. ISBN 978-1-84596-474-0.
- "Swans sign Stockport's Williams". BBC Sport. 27 March 2008. Retrieved 27 March 2008.
- Smedley, Simon (14 November 2007). "Outstanding Ash". Stockport Express. M.E.N. Media. Archived from the original on 12 November 2012. Retrieved 13 January 2009.
- Baxter, Trevor (13 November 2007). "Reds make it a treble celebration". Manchester Evening News. M.E.N. Media.
- "Swans complete Williams signing". BBC Sport. 22 May 2008. Retrieved 23 May 2008.
- Witcoop, Darren (16 September 2008). "Ashley Williams denies Derby long-awaited away win". The Daily Telegraph.
- "Williams takes top Welsh awards". BBC Sport. 11 November 2009. Retrieved 11 November 2008.
- "Swansea 0–0 Doncaster". BBC Sport. 2 May 2010.
- "Ash would be proud to join '106 Club'". Swansea City A.F.C. 29 October 2010. Archived from the original on 2 November 2010. Retrieved 30 October 2010.
- "Chelsea 4–1 Swansea". BBC Sport. 24 September 2011. Retrieved 24 September 2011.
- "Ashley Williams extends Swansea contract until 2015". BBC Sport. 23 October 2012.
- "Ashley Williams made Swansea captain". The Guardian. 15 July 2013.
- "Williams commits future to Swans". Swansea City A.F.C. Retrieved 4 July 2014.
- "Winners announced for The Football League Awards 2015". The Football League. Retrieved 22 April 2015.
- "Ashley Williams: Everton sign Swansea and Wales defender for £12m". BBC Sport. 10 August 2016. Retrieved 10 August 2016.
- Kirkbride, Phil (20 August 2016). "West Brom 1-2 Everton full time report: Blues come from behind to give Ronald Koeman first win as boss". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 24 August 2016.
- Jolly, Richard (23 August 2014). "Arouna Koné scores two late goals as Everton cruise past Yeovil". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 August 2016.
- Wathan, Chris (14 June 2016). "How these nine English-born footballers came to be Wales' Euro 2016 heroes". Wales Online. Retrieved 16 June 2016.
- "Ashley Williams makes way from waiter to Wembley with Swansea City". The Independent. 23 February 2013. Retrieved 8 September 2015.
- "Ashley Williams: Wales captaincy decision 'no big deal'". BBC Sport. 7 October 2012. Retrieved 22 March 2013.
- Dulin, David (26 March 2008). "Luxembourg 0–2 Wales". BBC Sport. Retrieved 16 June 2016.
- Pope, Bruce (1 April 2009). "Wales 0–2 Germany". BBC Sport. Retrieved 16 June 2016.
- Shuttleworth, Peter (14 November 2009). "Wales 3–0 Scotland". BBC Sport.
- Dulin, David (11 August 2010). "Wales 5–1 Luxembourg". BBC Sport. Retrieved 16 June 2016.
- "Aaron Ramsey replaced as Wales captain by Ashley Williams". BBC Sport. 5 October 2012. Retrieved 16 June 2016.
- "Joe Ledley named in Wales squad along with Gareth Bale, Aaron Ramsey". ESPN. 31 May 2016. Retrieved 1 July 2016.
- "Euro 2016: Robson-Kanu, Vokes seal thrilling quarter-final triumph". Yahoo! Sports. 1 July 2016. Retrieved 1 July 2016.
- "Portugal 2–0 Wales". BBC Sport. 6 July 2016. Retrieved 11 August 2016.
- Al-Samarrai, Riath (22 December 2011). "Williams's goal is helping with new life for two-year-old Hari through WillsWorld charity". Daily Mail. Retrieved 16 June 2016.
- "Swansea's Ashley Williams: WillsWorld charity". PFA. 24 July 2012. Retrieved 16 June 2016.
- Authi, Jasbir (6 July 2016). "As a nine year old he wrote to the manufacturers of Subbuteo to complain there were no black players - Ashley Williams' parents describe the man they always knew was 'special'". Wales Online. Retrieved 11 August 2016.
- Hunter, Andy (11 April 2013). "Liverpool confident of signing Ashley Williams from Swansea City". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 11 April 2013.
- "Ashley Williams". Soccerbase. Retrieved 4 September 2015.
- "A. WILLIAMS". Soccerway. Retrieved 4 September 2015.
- "Ashley Williams profile". hednesfordtown.com. Retrieved 11 August 2016.
- "Ashley Williams". EU-Football.info. Retrieved 12 August 2016.
- "Ashley Williams". National Football Teams. Retrieved 1 July 2014.
- "The Football League announces its Team of the Decade". English Football League. Retrieved 28 February 2016.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ashley Williams.|