Brandon Williams has admitted that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will always have a ‘special place’ in his heart because of the role he played in launching his Manchester United career.
Williams was thrust into the spotlight at Old Trafford with little warning in the autumn of 2019 and went on to play 50 times for the Norwegian in total before heading out on loan this season.
Solskjaer has obviously since been sacked but Williams wishes him well.
“I sent him a message because he is always going to have a special place in my heart. I gave him my best wishes and said whatever he does next I hope he is really successful,” the player told The Athletic.
Williams only managed 14 first-team appearances for United last season, compared to 36 in his breakthrough campaign, and admitted that playing behind closed doors contributed to his struggles.
“I play off the fans. I need that energy,” he stressed. “I’m not saying it’s the biggest thing but last season when we were playing and there was no fans I didn’t really play how I usually do. Some players might get scared by the fans and the pressure. But I need that in me.”
Even now, Williams is still only 21 and has most of his career ahead of him. He seemed to come out of nowhere when he made the step up to the first-team and went on to explain that having a lower profile than someone like close friend Mason Greenwood, for example, probably served him better.
“In the eyes of everyone else, at a young age you score one in the top corner and you’re all over social media, you think you’re the next big thing,” Williams said.
“But you might end up in a lower league and you don’t think you belong there. Maybe that’s your level and where you have to start from. I believe not being the biggest star helped me. There wasn’t that pressure. But I always knew deep down what I had to do and what I was capable of.”
Williams has started nine of Norwich’s last 13 Premier League games since sealing his season-long switch to Carrow Road in August. That includes five of the last six on a much improved run for the Canaries, only missing one because he was ineligible against his parent club on Saturday.