Barnsley U23s’ left-back Ben Williams is thrilled to be recognised as the Club’s Young Player of the Year 2018.
The 19-year-old has shone since joining the Reds from Blackburn Rovers in the summer and has made a real impression in Paul Harsley’s side with a number of mature displays.
“Obviously it’s something massive for me in my first season at the Club and I’m really, really buzzing with it,” said Williams.
“I think all of the lads have been class this year so if I didn’t get it then anyone could have because they’ve all been fantastic.
“To be given this individual award is something that I’ve worked hard for and it will give me confidence next season to push on.
“It’s a surprise. Like I said, any of the lads could have won it - they’ve been top all season. I’m really happy to pick it up and it’ll be something good to look back on this season.”
Williams was also included in the first team matchday squad that travelled to Millwall for our FA Cup third round clash back in January - along with U23s captain Will Smith.
It is an indication of the progress that the youngster has made since his arrival at Oakwell, and he believes it is testament to the work of the coaching staff - in particular Harsley.
“As soon as I came in Paul put his arm around me and helped me settle,” admitted Williams.
“From the minute go in pre-season I’ve looked to kick on, and he’s always telling me what I can do better so I’m improving every week.
“We’re quite a tight, close-knit group - there have been a few changes this season with new players coming in, but I think we’ve all taken to it and have the same attitude and desire.”
Previous winners of this award include Mick McCarthy, David Hirst, Jacob Butterfield and, more recently in 2016, Alfie Mawson, who is in contention for an England call-up to the World Cup in Russia this summer.
However, Williams remains focussed on his development and will relish the prospect of playing at first-team level should the opportunity present itself.
“If winning this award means that I can maybe push on to the first team then that would be great,” said the Welsh youth international.
“I’ll be ready for the new season as soon as it comes around and looking to kick on again.”