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Ben Williams: "I feel like I’ve really progressed."

21 March 2018

Young Reds left-back Ben Williams is enjoying his football having joined the Club from Blackburn Rovers at the start of the season.

The 18-year-old has featured regularly for Paul Harsley’s under 23 side this campaign, and believes he is continuously developing with each passing week at Oakwell.
“I think it’s going really well,” said Williams. "I’ve played quite a few games, consistently, this season. I feel like I’ve really progressed since I joined at the start of the season and I’m really enjoying my football at the moment.
“Obviously I’m taking each game as it comes. I think I’ve become more of an attacking player since I’ve joined and that’s because the Club has helped me develop into a more attacking full-back. I’ve picked up a few assists this season, so I think that’s an area where I’ve improved most.”
Williams’ performances at academy level have not gone unnoticed, and the youngster was an unused substitute as Barnsley lost 4-1 at Millwall in the FA Cup third round earlier this season.
The experience of travelling and training with the first team was a big confidence boost for the left-back, who has fitted in seamlessly with the older members of the squad.
“It was a really good experience to travel down with the team; I thought it was really good in terms of confidence,” continued Williams. "Obviously I’d like to be pushing on and getting more experiences like that.
“They take you under their wing and help you settle down, and you’ve got to do an initiation which is a bit unnerving - I had to sing Castle On The Hill by Ed Sheeran. But all the lads have been sound with me.”
Under 23s football can also provide first team players with an opportunity to play in order to regain match fitness as they recover from injury, or even if they are ineligible for a game at the weekend - as was the case with Huddersfield Town’s Alex Pritchard earlier this season.
The Terriers’ midfielder was cup-tied following his January transfer from Norwich City, and Williams relished the prospect of playing against top quality opposition.
“It was a difficult test, but I thought I did well,” said Williams. "He’s obviously a player with a lot of quality and experience with big clubs, and he’s playing in the Premier League at the moment. So to test myself against players like that was really good.
“I like to test myself against better players and the experience is going to help you become a better player, and obviously prepare you for when you hopefully make the step up into the first team.
“It’s my first season with the under 23s, but I think I’ve taken to the test well. Confidence is a big boost as well, playing at a young age and you just go out there and do what you can - that’s been my mindset for every game.”

The U23s are back in action on Friday 23rd March where Paul Harsley's side will take on Crystal Palace on the main Oakwell pitch. Entry is FREE to all fans in the West Stand.

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