The Chalkboard: Why Ashley Williams wouldn’t fit into Chris Wilder’s system

According to reports in The Sun (June 8, Page 67), Sheffield United are interested in signing Ashley Williams after his Everton contract expired.

Even though the Wales captain would be available on a free transfer, the Yorkshire outfit should steer clear of signing the 34-year-old.

Williams’ decline

It wasn’t too long ago that Williams was regarded as one of the most reliable and consistent centre-halves in the Premier League.

The form that he showed at Swansea earnt him a move to Everton, but since then his career has been in a downward spiral. To put it bluntly, his legs have gone. He’s not quick enough or sharp enough to be a top-level defender anymore, and Sheffield United can’t afford to learn this the hard way.

The Welshman spent last season on loan at Stoke City, and even with a drop down to the Championship, he struggled to show any sort of form.

Awful signing

Considering the tactics that Sheffield United utilise, Williams is one of the most ill-equipped players they could possibly sign.

Chris Wilder’s 5-2-1-2 system is centred around overlapping centre-backs as two of his three centre-halves are encouraged to bomb forward and join in the attack.

To play that role, you need to be fast, and you need to be able to run for 90 minutes, which immediately rules Williams out.

The Welshman would consequently be taking up John Egan’s spot in the team as the sitting defender as the wing-backs and his partners push forward to join the attack.

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The problem with this is that this system can leave the Blades susceptible to being caught on the break, and whoever is playing that role needs incredible positional awareness and decent speed over 10/15 yards – two things which Williams no longer has in 2019.

Article title: The Chalkboard: Why Ashley Williams wouldn’t fit into Chris Wilder’s system

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