Author: Dafydd Jones
Wales’ Neco Williams has expressed the importance of this summer’s European Championship for his development.
Williams, 20, made his international debut in a 1-0 victory over Finland in September and has impressed ever since.
After a rapid rise to prominence, the Liverpool defender feels that Euro 2020 could be a huge step in his career.
“It’s a big summer ahead. It’s a huge achievement. As a little kid you always dream to play in one of the biggest tournaments in the world. For me to fulfil that dream and get a place in the squad is a dream come true.
“For me, I have to keep improving as a player every day and try and get as much game time as I can and just believe in myself.
“If all that came together then I thought I would have a good chance of earning myself a place in the squad.”
Despite being a key part in Wales’ side, Williams has found opportunities at Liverpool hard to come by this season.
The defender has made just 14 appearances for Jürgen Klopp’s outfit this season, just three more than the previous campaign.
However, Williams stressed that his hard-work off the field has resulted in him coming into the Euros in positive condition.
“If you haven’t played as much football then you have to look after your body in terms of doing extra at training, coming in on your days off and doing more running.
“That’s exactly what I have been doing. You can’t just rely on your club to try and gain your fitness if you aren’t playing regular football.
“I knew I had a big chance of earning myself a place in the squad and if I wanted to get my fitness to the highest level then I needed to do extras.
I needed to do runs after training or games and that’s what I have been doing. Hopefully my fitness is not too bad.
“I am going to play with everything I have got, give 110 per cent and play with confidence because if we do that as a team with the talent and desire we have then we will be looking to progress as far as we can.”
Wales’ Euro 2020 campaign will begin with a tough test against Switzerland, who are currently ranked 13th in the world.
The fixture will see Williams face Liverpool team-mate Xherdan Shaqiri, who will be a potential danger for Wales.
Williams acknowledged the winger may have a point to prove this summer, having struggled for game-time at Anfield.
“Maybe. I can’t speak for him but for any player you don’t really think about what you have done for the club in the past season.
“The main focus is to do as well as you can in the Euros and give everything you have got. I’m sure every player will do that.
“It depends how well focused you are, your desire and what you want to do. With the talent and belief we have, our aim is to get as far as we can.”