This is the sixth post in a series of 10, where reddit users /u/monsieurryan and/u/rdzzl have rated the ten best players playing for Manchester United’s youth teams.The previous posts include #10, Joe Riley, #9, Demetri Mitchell , #8, Tosin Kehinde, #7 Sean Goss and #6 Marcus Rashford.
RoShaun Williams, at only 17 years old, has been a mainstay at CB often paring with Tuanzebe or Fosu-Mensah. Williams made news when he broke a 25 year old school sprinting record that was held by Olympic gold medalist Darren Campbell. Although that may make you think that he is quick, but he is often outpaced in the first few yards by attackers. His speed comes over distance. But that is not all that he posses, he is very strong and capable of holding on to the ball. After Tuanzebe moved up to the u21 level he was named captain of the u18s, still only a first year scholar he will be the second consecutive first year scholar captain (Tuanzebe before him). /u/monsieurryan
He has made some brief appearances at the u21 level. In an interview from November, Nicky Butt had the following to say about RoShaun Williams (and Tuanzebe)
The way we performed meant we played a lot of the time one v one as well. It’s a really good thing and something you’ve got to do if you play for Manchester United at the top level, defend one v one. I thought they did that and I was really confident with them doing that. They proved to me they are capable of playing at a high level.
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This praise must be music to the young Centre backs’ ears. It also indirectly points to not only their positional and marking skills, but pace and general physique as well. RoShaun Williams in particular is rapid, and I don’t think there’s a single player in the Premier League who would beat him on pace alone. It is rare you see these players turn out to be defenders, which makes him extra fascinating to watch. Fastest player on your team? You’re usually thrown on to the right wing and asked to practice your crossing. In William’s case, it means the team he plays for can allow themselves to play a very high defensive line, as he’ll cut the angle of any striker as long as he focuses and falls back at the right time. Looking past Roshaun’s pace, he is also of a build that would allow him to put on a fair amount of muscle. This is vital for most Premier League defenders. I think it is an understatement that both/u/monsieurryan
and I believe him and Tuanzebe to be the best young defenders coming out of the Manchester United Academy since perhaps Wesley Brown a long, long time ago. What I would like to see more from Williams on, is his control on the ball, and to earn some of those clever tricks you see the best CBs doing. As in putting attackers off balance, being more cynical at defending set pieces in particular. If he can learn this, I think the only thing stopping him is injuries. He is a massively talented lad that I expect will earn either time on our pre-season in the coming summer, or the next one. Somewhere in between this, we’re likely to see him being a wanted player on loan for a Championship or football league 1 club, and he’ll have to impress there. I am sure he will.