Brandon Williams has admitted he wasn’t one of the most talented players when he first joined Manchester United and was jealous of some of his academy teammates.
Williams has started just two League Cup games for the Reds so far this season, but his rise to first-team prominence has been remarkable.
The Crumpsall-born youngster began training with United at The Cliff aged seven and has risen through the ranks alongside several recognisable names with the club maintaining its proudest tradition of blooding youth.
The 20-year-old made a chance debut under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer last season after an injury to Luke Shaw, but made his mark and is now considered a regular first-team squad member after impressing in 17 Premier League appearances.
But Williams’ road to the first-team has been by no means easy and the defender has admitted he changed position because of the standard within his age group.
He admits that he was once jealous of fellow academy graduates James Garner and Mason Greenwood for the proficiency they showed from a young age.
“I went to The Cliff when I was seven and met everyone, some of them are even my closest mates now,” Williams told United’s official website.
“Some have stayed and some have gone but I’m still really close with them.
‘From then on it’s just been year by year, getting through each year and making sure I get a contract for each year and then obviously getting to be the player I am now.
‘My dad took me to my first game at Old Trafford and I just fell in love with it.
“From then I was just a mad United fan. I wasn’t really happy when I went to The Cliff because I was used to being in school and being the best player, but when I went there I wasn’t one of the best players really! I was down there in the bottom group.
“Mason’s always been there [as one of the best players]. James Garner, he was up there as well. There are a few players who are not here as well now.
“I was jealous at the time because they were skilful and everything. I think that’s why I went further back, because I was a striker but now I’m a defender.’
Garner has made seven first-team appearances for the Reds and is currently enjoying a season-long loan spell at Championship side Watford where he is being rewarded more game time.
Greenwood, meanwhile, is recognised as one of the most precocious talents in world football and has the potential to develop into an elite forward.
Williams will hope he can team up with the duo again in Solskjaer’s first-team in the near future as he looks to forge a path back into the manager’s selection thoughts.