'Fire' - Liam Manning hails midfielder's rare skillset amid uncertain Bristol City future

Joe Williams battles with Millwall midfielder Ryan LeonardJoe Williams battles with Millwall midfielder Ryan Leonard
Joe Williams battles with Millwall midfielder Ryan Leonard
Joe Williams has set new heights in recent weeks

Liam Manning has praised Joe Williams' recent form and admitted the midfielder's valuable qualities are becoming a rarity in modern football.

Williams has become a vital cog in the City machine in recent weeks, as one-half of the double pivot in the Robins midfield.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The scouser put in a man-of-the-match display and notched an assist in City's FA Cup third-round draw against Premier League West Ham last time out as his side earned a replay, and his manager revelled at the ex-Wigan man's recent form.

“Brilliant, love him," he said. "I think he’s been outstanding the last few games, I think he’s got certain qualities that are difficult to find.

"He's got a real edge to him, even in the time we've been here he's improved that, possibly the last minute against Millwall will make people doubt that but he's controlling his emotions much better."

Williams' heart-on-his-sleeve nature and tendency to get under opposition players' skin at times have painted the midfielder as something of a pantomime villain in the past, but his manager is not concerned about that, and insisted that the midfielder's 'edge' is becoming something of a rarity.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"It's massive," he said. "I think it's becoming increasingly harder to find, to be honest. It’s not a quality or attribute that you see loads in young players, that fire, that edge, that passion and I think in the right way, it can shift momentum in games quite a lot.

"With a tackle, a bit of a flare-up, you can unsettle people and give teammates around you a lift. As long as it's controlled and doesn’t detract from what we need to be doing, it’s an attribute that is definitely a team need."

Williams joined the Robins in August 2020 in a £1.2m move from the Latics and with his four-year contract set to expire this summer, is among several City men fighting to extend their stays at BS3.

Previous injury troubles have no doubt played their part in City's potential reluctance to offer the midfielder a new deal, but those persistent injury problems now seem to be behind the 27-year-old.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Manning said that there have been no talks as of yet regarding a new contract and that he is fully focused on navigating through the current transfer window for now.

"Not at the moment, those conversations will be initially between myself and Brian (Tinnion) and then with Joe. For me, we're concentrating on January at the minute.

"Joe's just got back in and had a run of three or four games which is the first time that's happened for a while, I think that's something that will play out in time."

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.