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Liverpool to have further talks this week with Swansea City over Rhys Williams
Tuesday, 9th Nov 2021 13:59 by Keith Haynes

Liverpool prospect Rhys Williams who joined the swans on a season long loan in August is the subject of some consternation between Liverpool and Swansea City. It’s all over his appearance record since he joined the swans on loan. He has only played four times.

Russell Martin has qualified why Williams isn’t seeing more game time and was open and honest as always as to why. “Rhys understands and I'm honest with the guys. We had another conversation last week about his position, and I think he understands, whatever happens, he'll go back to Liverpool better for this. It's football. There'll come a point where he gets the chance to be involved on the pitch again and then he has to take it. All he can do now is focus on being present every day, training as well as he can and supporting his team mates then wait for his opportunity. "It's not easy to leave these guys out, but the guys in front of him are playing exceptionally well."

What many people seem to not understand is that albeit game time for a premier league loan player is the ultimate goal, it’s not just that. Training and developing with a new group of players and learning new ways of maintaining health and fitness are extremely important. However, being educated in the way other coaches train for match day, and actually being involved in that, be that from the bench or starting is crucially important. Other aspects of education are very valuable for a young man. Russell Martin educates players through emotional learning as much as a cognitive didactic approach. He is big on group learning and individual feedback on behaviour and performance. All of this plus lots more we can talk about is what Rhys is experiencing at Swansea.

It’s clear as well, and we as supporters should be extremely pleased with Martin’s stance on this. “I don't think they'll be overly happy he's not involved, but we have to what's right for our football team and our club," admitted the Swans boss. "I think they understand what's gone on. We've been really supportive of Rhys during a tough period, but he's come through it brilliantly. Whatever happens he'll go back there better. The first loan at this level is really difficult sometimes. He started in the team then had a little injury. The guys at Liverpool understand, they've been down to watch him train, they really enjoyed the environment and how hard he's working”

Williams needs to bide his time and his chance will come

As with Manchester United’s Ethan Laird, Liverpool are constantly in touch with the club over his own specific training plans and have made two journeys south to monitor not only the player but the way the swans deliver training and development. As Martin states they seem perfectly happy with that side of things. The racist incident at Luton which Swansea City handled brilliantly. The club displayed how they are at the forefront of pushing governing bodies to act far more firmly than it does on racist incidents. Recognised by ‘Kick It Out‘ as well. That clearly was a factor, but Williams has also been nursing an injury before his return to the bench a few weeks ago. So any concern on Liverpool’s part does seem a bit premature.

“Its football. There'll come a point where he gets the chance to be involved on the pitch again and then he has to take it. All he can do now is focus on being present every day, training as well as he can and supporting his team mates then wait for his opportunity. Russell Martin, Swansea City Head Coach“

On Williams progress Martin said “There are some bits I feel he's improved on. We spend a lot of time with the young guys to help them, and he's embracing the work and putting everything into it and that's all we can ask. His attitude is fantastic. I think he's come a long way in the short period of time he's been with us, he's improved a lot. But he's come out of the team when he had a really tough period, and since then the guys have kept so many clean sheets and played so well. Ryan Bennett has been exceptional. Ryan Manning has been so important for us and Naughts is Naughts, he goes understated. His level of consistency is outrageous for the position he's playing in. Ben Cabango is really unlucky to be out of the side at the minute because when he has come back in, like at Derby, the way he recovered since that Fulham game, and West Brom, he's been outstanding”

What are the options ?
1.Liverpool do have a recall clause which they could activate in January. As with Conor Gallagher when he came to Swansea after leaving Charlton Athletic, another club could be lined up.
2. Both clubs can agree to terminate the loan agreement immediately. This will affect player registration.
3. Liverpool to monitor Williams for a further six weeks.
4. There is mention of a ‘failure to play‘ clause in Williams loan agreement. This means the parent club are paid a sum of money for the games the player misses. Although this is allegedly in the contract between Liverpool and the swans there’s nothing to say it has been activated, if indeed it exists.

The international break has come at the right time again for Russell Martin, he has time now to attend to squad practicalities and manage things such as the Rhys Williams situation. Nobody said it was going to be easy at Swansea City, and loan players especially are finding that out. So be it, they don’t pick the team, neither do Liverpool, that’s Russell Martin’s job.

And it’s also his job to make Swansea City squad decisions.

Photographs licensed from Reuters

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