Loan move per­fect for Toon de­fender

The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By Nick Lough

HE’s get­ting close to that stage of his ca­reer when the tag ‘vet­eran’ can be ap­plied, but Mike Wil­liamson in­sists he’s still got the same hunger and de­sire as ever.

The 32-year-old could have sat tight at Premier League New­cas­tle but de­cided to take on the chal­lenge of help­ing Kenny Jack­ett fix Wolves’ leaky de­fence on loan.

The Mid­lan­ders had con­ceded nine goals in three games prior to the cen­tre-back’s ar­rival.

Ahead of yes­ter­day’s trip to Ip­swich, they had let in just one goal in his three games, start­ing with an ex­cel­lent 2-0 derby win at Birm­ing­ham City on his de­but.


“I can only speak for my­self but I am as am­bi­tious as I’ve ever been,” he said.

“I’ve just turned 32 and I feel good phys­i­cally and mentally.

“Be­ing a foot­baller, there are a lot of highs and lows. Play­ers can go through dif­fer­ent emo­tions and feel­ings but, when a player really re­flects, you are play­ing foot­ball for the love of it and you al­ways want to play at the best level you can.

“I think some­times you may get bogged down with the job and the monotony of it, but, like ev­ery­thing in life, you have to put the right per-nels spec­tive on it. For my­self, there is noth­ing bet­ter than play­ing in front of thou­sands of peo­ple and be­ing put in a po­si­tion like I was on my de­but in the spot­light and hav­ing to per­form. That’s why you are in the busi­ness really.

“I’m thor­oughly en­joy­ing be­ing here so far. It’s been great to play games, and both the lads and all of the staff have been fan­tas­tic.

“I wanted to play games and, as a player, it’s frus­trat­ing when you haven’t got many min­utes un­der your belt. Wolves are a great club and I jumped at the chance when I heard the man­ager wanted me to come down.

“It’s a big club with fan­tas­tic fans. I’d never worked with the man­ager be­fore but I’d heard good things about him and it was just a great op­por­tu­nity for me.

“It was great to see when I got here that ev­ery­thing was in place to push for pro­mo­tion to the Premier League.”

Ahead of the week­end, Wolves were mid-ta­ble, but Wil­liamson is con­vinced there is plenty of tal­ent in the ranks.

“There is a lot of po­ten­tial here,” said Wil­liamson. “I’ve only been here for a short while, but there are a lot of good play­ers. It’s about try­ing to use my ex­pe­ri­ence to help that gel and turn the po­ten­tial into re­sults.

“In train­ing, Benik Afobe has been fan­tas­tic and you can see he has a nat­u­ral eye for goal as well as all the at­tributes to be a good Premier League player.

“He just needs to get his head down, work hard and keep do­ing what he’s do­ing. That is a nat­u­ral pro­gres­sion for him, I’m sure.”


The 6ft 4ins de­fender has been de­lighted with the start to his Wolves ca­reer.

“It’s all about the con­fi­dence and mo­men­tum, and I think a new face, a new voice and dif­fer­ent ideas can play a part,” he said.

“I’ve got a lot of ex­pe­ri­ence so, for me, it’s about open­ing the chan- of com­mu­ni­ca­tion and get­ting the be­lief back.

“It’s ob­vi­ous to see the in­di­vid­ual tal­ent, but it’s about ev­ery­one pool­ing that tal­ent as a team.”

With his loan at the Cham­pi­onship club ex­tended un­til mid-Jan­uary, the ex-Wy­combe and Wat­ford de­fender doesn’t want to look too far ahead when it comes to making cru­cial de­ci­sions in his ca­reer.

How­ever, he ad­mits he still wants one more stab at top flight foot­ball.

Wil­liamson said: “I want to play in the Premier League again, but at the minute it’s about the op­por­tu­nity in front of me, get­ting my­self in the best con­di­tion pos­si­ble and making the best out of my time here at Wolves.

“Af­ter that, we’ll see what comes of it. There’s no plan­ning past Jan­uary 16 really.

“As a player you can’t look too far into the fu­ture be­cause, in this in­dus­try, you never know what’s just around the cor­ner.

“It could be a big move, it could be a big in­jury. It’s that much of a roller­coaster so it’s about making sure I turn up each game and, as a team, we put in a good per­for­mance. The re­sults will take care of them­selves.”

PIC: Ac­tion Im­ages

SET­TLING IN: Wil­liamson ad­mires Benik Afobe’s eye for goal and work­ing with Kenny Jack­ett NEW COLOURS: Mike Wil­liamson, right, chal­lenges Burn­ley striker An­dre Gray

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