Jonathan Williams hasn’t had a look in on the Crystal Palace first-team since Alan Pardew arrived at the end of 2014, a fact that could be set to change next season if the gaffer’s latest Daily Mail column is anything to go by.
The centre of midfield is without question the strongest area of the Palace team as things stand. Thanks to the presence of McArthur, Cabaye, Ledley, Jedinak, Puncheon and Mutch, we saw plenty of jostling for a starting place in Alan Pardew’s team last season with Williams not even given a place inside the 25 man squad, but following on from his dazzling display against Slovakia, that could be set to change next term.
The case of Williams is an extremely puzzling one, given the insane levels of adoration he has showered upon him by those in the stands whenever he is given the chance to turn out in red and blue. As you can gather from Pardew’s words above, it’s a phenomenon which has baffled him until recently, when, during Wales first group game, the penny finally dropped as to why we all make such a fuss about him.
With new signings certain to arrive before the new season begins and competition in the heart of the Eagles’ midfield sure to be as strong as ever heading into the 2016/17 Premier League campaign, it will be interesting to see where exactly Jonny fits into Pardew’s overall plans following a full pre-season.
The baby-faced playmaker is now entering the final year of his contract and will be desperate to impress the management staff enough to earn an extension to his current deal, but in something of a catch 22 situation, he will only be able to do that if he is given a place in the final 25 man squad at the expense of an equally disappointed current first-teamer.
With the Palace fan-base having banged the Joniesta drum for years on end in the hope of getting the little man some recognition, Pardew’s obvious excitement within the feature above is fantastic to see. Having been openly apathetic to the cries for the little man to be given a chance until now, he has seemingly been put under the same spell as the rest of us after Williams’ display against Slovakia.
It’s about time.