Newcastle United centre-back, Mike Williamson, has acclimatised to the level of the Premier League with comparative ease. The recently turned 27-year-old has been performing in the mould of a seasoned vet, rarely found out of his comfort zone, and after having formed a reliable partnership with Fabricio Coloccini, Newcastle have been able to produce four clean sheets so far this season. Ah, but wait a minute, isn’t he English? Why yes, he is in fact English! With a player such as Williamson performing consistently and assuredly, surely he would be liable for an international cap.
I think it is portentous that a player such as Williamson hasn’t even been given any credible notion of joining up with the international squad; I believe it is due to circumstance and his demeanour as a player that he hasn’t been recognised. The circumstances I note are where he has previously played and where he currently finds himself playing now i.e. not deemed a big club. For if Williamson were playing for a Chelsea, Manchester United, or Arsenal, then there would be more attention paid to the centre-back. But because he is playing at a newly promoted and less successful club, this will, combined with other factors, suppress his England chances.
Another factor that applies itself against Williamson is his history of football. He was formerly playing in the lower leagues for clubs such as Wycombe Wanderers, Watford and Portsmouth (he didn’t actually play here due to financial clauses in his contract). This less than glamorous past creates an initial prejudice of lacking quality and the inability to assent to the international level. But having come through these challenges, it builds resolve and determination in the player never to become too complacent, always striving to improve and maintain form.
Williamson himself asserts: “Every match is a clean slate, that’s how I look at it. It doesn’t matter what has happened before, it’s up to me to perform week after week. I’ve got to maintain the good start I’ve had.” He’s certainly affirming his word by keeping Sol Campbell on the substitute’s bench and impressing everyone who watches him. His character is a conservative, yet professional one that portrays little flamboyance or pretence.
All of these factors elucidated above combine to dismiss Williamson from Fabio Capello’s thoughts, as this is all I can surmise as to why he won’t get an England call-up. He hasn’t had a meteoric rise to fame as a youngster or played at a consistently Premier League club. His style of play is efficient and straight forward, so all of these, whilst misguided, count against him. It confounds me as to why a player such as Chris Smalling is included in the squad, but not one like Williamson who has greater experience playing regularly and competently.
A comparison can be drawn with West Ham’s Scott Parker, who is, again, playing for a struggling club and repeatedly been looked over when the England squad is announced. I guess some players just don’t appeal to the individual preferences of a manager, but when form is everything, surely the observable evidence could suggest a flaw in your first assumption?
Written by Elliot O’Reilly