What Klopp, Carra and more have said about ‘exceptional’ Rhys Williams
Rhys Williams seems to have come out of nowhere, but the 19-year-old has made quite the impression since being handed his first opportunities in the Liverpool first team.
Williams put in another impressive performance during the Reds’ 5-0 victory against Atalanta in the Champions League, having already caught the eye with his displays in defence.
Here are 10 quotes from team-mates, coaches and pundits about Williams, who is one of the men of the moment for Liverpool.
“Exceptional. I cannot imagine being 19 and playing in the Champions League against Zapata, it’s incredible!” Klopp said after the victory over Atalanta.
“I couldn’t be more happy for Rhys. You should see him in the dressing room, you’d need something special to get the smile off his face!”
Williams, a former team-mate of his namesake at Kidderminster Harriers, where the Liverpool prospect spent last season on loan, said to BT Sport: “I remember the first training session he came in and we were doing set-pieces.
“I remember he came up for a corner and he just smashed his header in and I thought, ‘This lad is going to be alright.'”
“You’ve seen Rhys Williams stepping in and doing a world-class job at such a young age with such little experience, unbelievable from him,” Alexander-Arnold told LFCTV following the 2-0 win over Midtjylland.
“He never really put a foot wrong. Well done to him and I think he’s got a bright future ahead.”
Speaking to CBS, Carragher said: “What he does give you is a great size and great aerial ability that Fabinho or Joe Gomez don’t give you.”
“At Under-18s and when he played up with the Under-23s when I was there, he was always dominant with his physicality,” his former Liverpool youth team-mate said to Blood Red, “and he is very good on the ball as well. I always thought he would become a top, top player.”
“A lot of the time they would have had to sort their own kit out, take their own towel to training. That is a million miles away from how some of these Premier League clubs and these academies operate,” Shan, who coached Williams at Kidderminster, said to BT Sport.
“He ticked a massive, massive box in having that humility to get on with it, to do the work. And I think ultimately he knew the main reason why he went to Kidderminster was to get exposure to learning the ugly side of the game. The importance of three points and putting your body on the line and how to use your body against experienced pros. In that sense he ticked all the right boxes.”
Lewtas, Liverpool’s U23 coach, told The Athletic: “Rhys wanted to come down here and play for the under-23s. He wasn’t thinking, ‘Hang on, I played in the Champions League the other night’. He’s a good boy.”
Speaking as a pundit on BT Sport, Owen said: “Players need to get out there, play’s men’s football, experience football, and I take my hat off to him because I think he’s gone out and done it the hard way.”
Speaking to Sky Sports, Penn, the Kidderminster manager, said: “He’s a very confident individual and I don’t mean that like he’s big-time or he’s very arrogant. I mean he knows his ability and I can only go as the Kidderminster manager, he knew how good he was at our level last year.”
“I can say a lot about his progress in the last few weeks or months since he is with us [in first team training]. This is pretty exceptional. But he was already a really good kid when he arrived here,” Klopp said ahead of Liverpool’s win against West Ham United.
“The situation was one of the benefits of having Vitor Matos in the coaching staff. He made us aware of [Williams] and said ‘he is really good, take him in training’ so that’s what we did. He looked good!”