Ashley Williams (footballer)

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Ashley Williams
Ashley Williams Wales.jpg
Williams playing for Wales in 2011
Personal information
Full name Ashley Errol Williams[1]
Date of birth (1984-08-23) 23 August 1984 (age 31)
Place of birth Wolverhampton, England
Height 1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)[1]
Playing position Centre back
Club information
Current team
Swansea City
Number 6
Youth career
Tamworth
West Bromwich Albion
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2001–2003 Hednesford Town 60 (0)
2003–2008 Stockport County 162 (3)
2008 Swansea City (loan) 3 (0)
2008– Swansea City 319 (14)
National team
2008– Wales 65 (2)

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 14:00, 1 May 2016 (UTC).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 6 July 2016

Ashley Errol Williams (born 23 August 1984) is a professional footballer who plays as a defender for Premier League club Swansea City and the Wales national team. He is currently captain of both teams. He plays mainly as a central defender.

After being released from West Bromwich Albion as a teenager, he played for non-league 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 has totalled over 300 games for the Swans, aiding them in their promotion to the Premier League and their victory in the 2013 Football League Cup Final.

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 50 caps. He captained the team at UEFA Euro 2016.

Club career[edit]

Stockport County[edit]

Born in Wolverhampton, West Midlands,[1] 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.[2] 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.[3][4]

Swansea City[edit]

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.[2] 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.[5]

On 16 September 2008, Williams scored his first Swansea goal in a 1–1 draw against Derby County.[6] 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.[7]

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.[8] 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.[9]

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.[10]

Williams playing for Swansea City in 2011

In October 2012, Williams signed a new three-year contract with Swansea.[11] The club's second season in the Premier League saw a ninth-placed finish and a first major trophy win in English football 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.[12]

On 4 July 2014, Williams signed a new four-year contract with Swansea.[13] On 19 April 2015, he was selected in the Team of the Decade at the Football League Awards.[14]

International career[edit]

Williams qualifies for the Wales national football team through his maternal grandfather Bill Rowlands from Gelli in Rhondda.[15] He made his international debut on 26 March 2008, two days before securing his move to Swansea City.[16][17] 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.[18]

On 1 April 2009, Williams scored an own goal in a 0–2 loss to Germany in qualification for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, deflecting Mario Gómez's cross at the Millennium Stadium.[19] He captained the country for the first time on 14 November, in a 3–0 friendly win over Scotland at the Cardiff City Stadium.[20] 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.[21]

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.[22]

He was called up to Wales' final UEFA Euro 2016 squad by Coleman.[23] 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.[24]

Personal life[edit]

In his time at Hednesford Town, Williams supported himself with various jobs including at a petrol station, as a waiter at Beefeater, and running a sideshow at Drayton Manor.[16]

In December 2010, Williams established the charity WillsWorld with his wife Vanessa, with a view to help under-privileged children.[25] 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.[26]

Williams was a boyhood fan of Liverpool F.C.[27] and the Miami Heat.[16]

Career statistics[edit]

As of 2 March 2016[28][29]
Club performance League Cup League Cup Continental Total
Season Club League Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
England League FA Cup League Cup Europe Total
2003–04 Stockport County League One 10 0 10 0
2004–05 44 1 3 1 1 0 48 2
2005–06 League Two 36 1 1 0 1 0 38 1
2006–07 46 1 2 0 1 0 49 1
2007–08 26 0 2 0 28 0
Total Stockport County 162 3 6 1 5 0 173 4
2007–08 Swansea City League One 3 0 3 0
2008–09 Championship 46 2 4 0 1 0 51 2
2009–10 46 5 46 5
2010–11 49a 3 2 0 2 0 53 3
2011–12 Premier League 37 1 2 0 1 0 40 1
2012–13 37 0 0 0 4 0 41 0
2013–14 34 1 2 0 0 0 7 0 43 1
2014–15 37 0 0 0 2 0 39 0
2015–16 33 2 0 0 0 0 25 2
Total Swansea City 319 14 10 0 10 0 7 0 346 14
Career total 481 17 16 1 15 0 7 0 519 18

^a The 2010–11 League total includes three play-off appearances.

International goals[edit]

As of match played 1 July 2016. Wales score listed first, score column indicates score after each Williams goal.[30]
International goals by date, venue, cap, opponent, score, result and competition
No. Date Venue Cap Opponent Score Result Competition
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

Honours[edit]

Swansea City

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Hugman, Barry J., ed. (2010). The PFA Footballers' Who's Who 2010–11. Mainstream Publishing. p. 437. ISBN 978-1-84596-474-0. 
  2. ^ a b "Swans sign Stockport's Williams". BBC Sport. 27 March 2008. Retrieved 27 March 2008. 
  3. ^ Smedley, Simon (14 November 2007). "Outstanding Ash". Stockport Express (M.E.N. Media). Retrieved 13 January 2009. 
  4. ^ Baxter, Trevor (13 November 2007). "Reds make it a treble celebration". Manchester Evening News (M.E.N. Media). 
  5. ^ "Swans complete Williams signing". BBC Sport. 22 May 2008. Retrieved 23 May 2008. 
  6. ^ Witcoop, Darren (16 September 2008). "Ashley Williams denies Derby long-awaited away win". The Daily Telegraph (London). 
  7. ^ "Williams takes top Welsh awards". BBC Sport. 11 November 2009. Retrieved 11 November 2008. 
  8. ^ "Swansea 0–0 Doncaster". BBC News. 2 May 2010. 
  9. ^ "Ash would be proud to join '106 Club'". Swansea City A.F.C. 29 October 2010. Retrieved 30 October 2010. 
  10. ^ "Chelsea 4 – 1 Swansea". BBC Sport. 24 September 2011. Retrieved 24 September 2011. 
  11. ^ "Ashley Williams extends Swansea contract until 2015". BBC Sport. 23 October 2012. 
  12. ^ "Ashley Williams made Swansea captain". London: Guardian.co.uk. 15 July 2013. 
  13. ^ "Williams commits future to Swans". swanseacity.net. Retrieved 4 July 2014. 
  14. ^ "Winners announced for The Football League Awards 2015". The Football League. Retrieved 22 April 2015. 
  15. ^ Wathan, Chris (14 June 2016). "How these nine English-born footballers came to be Wales' Euro 2016 heroes". Wales Online. Retrieved 16 June 2016. 
  16. ^ a b c "Ashley Williams makes way from waiter to Wembley with Swansea City". The Independent. 23 February 2013. Retrieved 8 September 2015. 
  17. ^ "Ashley Williams: Wales captaincy decision 'no big deal'". BBC Sports. 7 October 2012. Retrieved 22 March 2013. 
  18. ^ Dulin, David (26 March 2008). "Luxembourg 0-2 Wales". BBC Sport. Retrieved 16 June 2016. 
  19. ^ Pope, Bruce (1 April 2009). "Wales 0-2 Germany". BBC Sport. Retrieved 16 June 2016. 
  20. ^ Shuttleworth, Peter (14 November 2009). "Wales 3–0 Scotland". BBC News. 
  21. ^ Dulin, David (11 August 2010). "Wales 5-1 Luxembourg". BBC Sport. Retrieved 16 June 2016. 
  22. ^ "Aaron Ramsey replaced as Wales captain by Ashley Williams". BBC Sport. 5 October 2012. Retrieved 16 June 2016. 
  23. ^ "Joe Ledley named in Wales squad along with Gareth Bale, Aaron Ramsey". ESPN. 31 May 2016. Retrieved 1 July 2016. 
  24. ^ "Euro 2016: Robson-Kanu, Vokes seal thrilling quarter-final triumph". Yahoo! Sports. 1 July 2016. Retrieved 1 July 2016. 
  25. ^ 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. 
  26. ^ "Swansea's Ashley Williams: WillsWorld charity". PFA. 24 July 2012. Retrieved 16 June 2016. 
  27. ^ Hunter, Andy (11 April 2013). "Liverpool confident of signing Ashley Williams from Swansea City". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 11 April 2013. 
  28. ^ "Ashley Williams". Soccerbase. Retrieved 4 September 2015. 
  29. ^ "A. WILLIAMS". Soccerway. Retrieved 4 September 2015. 
  30. ^ "Ashley Williams". National Football Teams. Retrieved 1 July 2014. 
  31. ^ League, The Football. "The Football League announces its Team of the Decade". www.football-league.co.uk. Retrieved 2016-02-28. 

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Tony Dinning
Stockport County captain
2007–2008
Succeeded by
Gareth Owen
Preceded by
Aaron Ramsey
Wales captain
2012–present
Incumbent
Preceded by
Garry Monk
Swansea City captain
2013–present
Incumbent