X

Tuesday 28
January

Manchester United

Williams follows in footsteps of some of great ‘righty’ left-backs

25th November 2019, 16:02 by Simon Barlow

When Brandon Williams lashed home the half-volley that sparked his side's comeback at Bramall Lane on Sunday he showed why Manchester United rate him so highly.

The teenager, making only his second Premier League start, had been by no means great in the 70 minutes leading up to that moment as the Red Devils struggled to look a coherent force against one of the division’s in-form sides.

But when the ball dropped to him, he hit it with the assurance a naturally right-footed player has in meeting a half-volley with his body position correct and his head over the ball – it nestled in the corner of Simon Moore’s net a split second later.

Many neutrals who don’t know much about Williams probably feel it’s a bit harsh to throw a kid into the first-team in a position on the opposite side of the park to where he would be able to use his natural foot more often, but he’s been operating at left-back in the academy and reserves for the past few years.

The right-footed left-back is a phenomenon that appeared to be going out of English football with very few around at the top-level, bar Williams’ own Old Trafford colleague Ashley Young – a converted winger.

But some of the very best left-backs in the history of the game have been right-footed and some would argue the greatest left-back in United’s rich history is one such example.

In 12 years at Old Trafford, Denis Irwin made 296 Premier League appearances and won seven Premier League title medals, as well as three FA Cup winners medals (1994, 1996 and 1999), a League Cup winner’s medal and Champions League and Cup Winners’ Cup honours.

He was signed as a right-back by Sir Alex Ferguson and played there for his first season before the addition of England international Paul Parker saw him shunted to the opposite side.

The best left-back the world has ever seen, Paulo Maldini, was all right foot and used it to his advantage in shackling opposing wingers for many a year in Serie A, occasionally playing in central defence too.

Others of note include Paul Breitner, Ruud Krol and Andreas Brehme – all who played the position at the very highest (World Cup) level.

Over the years we have seen more and more players try to imitate Maldini’s style, including the likes of Philip Lahm, Gianluca Zambrotta, Javier Zanetti and Cesar Azpilicueta and all did more than passable impressions of the Italian legend.

Modern wingers love to cut in, much more so than in Maldini’s time, and Williams’ strength could be his defending on the inside in the long-term.

Either way, it is only the start of a promising career even if it does evoke memories of one of the greatest left-backs of them all.

This article originated on sportinastorm.com

Simon Barlow has a wealth of journalism experience and in-depth knowledge in a number of sports. As well as his extensive football knowledge, Simon is also well versed on cricket, tennis, American Football and cycling amongst others.

More Manchester United

Manchester United

Rooney on course for Man Utd FA Cup reunion

27th January 2020, 21:23

Manchester United have been drawn to face either Derby or Northampton in the FA Cup fifth round, which could see Wayne Rooney come up against his former club.

Manchester United

On this day: Edwin’s excellence sends records tumbling

27th January 2020, 17:27

On This Day in 2009, Manchester United's Edwin van der Sar set a new Premier League record for minutes without conceding, making it to 1,032 at West Brom.

Manchester United

United warned of Sporting’s mystery rival Fernandes bid expectation

27th January 2020, 16:40

Manchester United appear no closer to signing Bruno Fernandes, who is expected to captain Sporting Lisbon on Monday in their Primeira Liga clash with Maritimo.

Manchester United

Giantkillers pipe down, here’s some of the FA Cup’s greatest minnow-maulings

26th January 2020, 18:21

Manchester United’s 6-0 thrashing of League One Tranmere Rovers on Sunday may not have been a romantic result, but it was nowhere near the FA Cup record.

Manchester United

United face fans protest as results slip

25th January 2020, 13:23

Reports claim Manchester United fans are planning a mass walkout at Old Trafford to protest at the club's owners.

Manchester United

Rashford to see specialist to boost injury return bid

24th January 2020, 14:31

Marcus Rashford will reportedly see a specialist early next week to determine whether his back injury requires further examination.

Recent Sport Headlines

Arsenal

Bournemouth 1-2 Arsenal

27th January 2020, 22:25

First half goals from Bukayo Saka and Eddie Nketiah saw Arsenal claim a 2-1 win at Bournemouth in the fourth round of the FA Cup.

Manchester United

Rooney on course for Man Utd FA Cup reunion

27th January 2020, 21:23

Manchester United have been drawn to face either Derby or Northampton in the FA Cup fifth round, which could see Wayne Rooney come up against his former club.

Crystal Palace

Where next for Tottenham’s Kyle Walker-Peters?

27th January 2020, 20:53

With just a few days left of the January transfer window, clubs are now racing to get their final deals over the line before the final push.

West Ham United

West Ham United move closer to signing Slavia Prague midfielder Soucek

27th January 2020, 20:23

Slavia Prague president Jaroslav Tvrdík has confirmed midfielder Tomas Soucek has been allowed to travel to West Ham United for a medical ahead of a January mov

Norwich City

Cup run a welcome distraction for Norwich?

27th January 2020, 19:21

Norwich made it through to the fifth round of the FA Cup but is a cup run what they need as they battle for Premier League survival?

Barcelona

Barcelona set to miss out on Juventus midfielder Bernardeschi

27th January 2020, 19:21

Juventus sporting director Fabio Paratici has said midfielder Federico Bernardeschi will not be leaving to join Barcelona this month.

Cricket

Sky the limit for Root's England

27th January 2020, 18:49

England skipper Joe Root feels the 3-1 series success over South Africa can be a catalyst for even greater things.

Golf

Woods kept in dark about Bryant death

27th January 2020, 18:47

Tiger Woods' caddie Joe LaCava did not tell the star about Kobe Bryant's death until his final Torrey Pines round was over.