Due to this summer’s World Cup, the squad that Manchester United took with them to the United States for their pre-season tour could not be described as anywhere near full-strength. The absences of Paul Pogba, Romelu Lukaku, Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard, amongst others meant that Jose Mourinho’s team took on a far more experimental look during their five friendlies in America, and whilst the manager would have liked to have had a full senior complement of players on tour, the members of the U23 squad that have filled in the gaps have certainly enjoyed the trip, including Ro-Shaun Williams.
“It’s been a great experience,” said Williams to Manutd.com. “Being in and around the first team everyday, learning off all the players, training with them and just being around them 24/7, it’s been really good. I’ve trained with the first-team before and it’s just down to business on the pitch, but off the pitch it’s crazy seeing the fans. Even when we’re arriving to hotels at night, the amount of fans there to see the players is crazy.
“You get to learn but you also get to know the players. Back at the Aon Training Complex there’s a different changing room so I just come in and train with them, but now I’ve got to know the people so it’s good. It’s been good for me to be honest because previously I’ve not had pre-seasons due to injuries, but this is my first ever full pre-season since I signed for the club at 16, so I’m pleased with myself to get through it and now I’m just building myself up.”
Williams can look at the examples of Jesse Lingard and Andreas Pereira as players who shone during pre-season, and ended up in the first team picture as a result. The former, in particular has turned into a regular starter under Mourinho, whilst the latter finally appears to be pushing for a place in his manager’s plans after two successive years on loan to Granada and Valencia.