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Joe Williams 32

Williams enjoyed a breakthrough season with the Blues Academy in 2015-16, excelling as captain of the Under-21s and pushing ever closer to a debut for the first team. The Huyton native, who signed a three-year professional deal with Everton in July 2014, has never been capped at any level by England but his performances caught the eye of national team boss Keith Dowling. 

Joe Williams was aiming to defy the medical experts and return sooner than predicted from a major knee injury the Everton Under-21s captain suffered when he damaged his lateral collateral ligament in the final game of the 2015-16 season against Chelsea. Williams sustained the injury inside the first 20 minutes but managed to complete the full game. The 19-year-old underwent an operation soon after and doctors immediately said it would keep him out of action for six months.

Under-21s boss David Unsworth said: “He’s been outstanding all season and quite rightly won the Under-21s Player of the Season, which we will present to him when he is back on his feet. He’s got a lot of work to do now in the gym and a lot of rehab work to get fit. But he will get through it – he’s a great lad and we wish him speedy recovery.”

But dedicated Williams, who hails from Huyton, remains hopeful he can return sooner than expected. Williams cancelled his holiday in order to start his rehabilitation at Finch Farm as soon as possible and hoped that he can be back in action before the mid-November projection.  But it was not to be after what proved a foolhardy runout in late September; he would not play again until February 2017.

He was declared fit again in February 2017, and put pen to paper on a contract extension tying him to Everton until 2020. It was good news for the 20-year-old who had just returned to action following a year of injury frustration. Williams, at one time a rumoured transfer target of Manchester United, had recovered from that bad knee injury only to have his attempted comeback ruined by damage to his ankle in November.  That spring,he got to sit on the first team bench for five games without being used, although his return to fitness was instrumental in helping the Under-23s win the Premier League 2 title.

Injury has been a constant thorn in Williams's time at Everton with tha bad injury keeping  him out for a very long spell and it took a yard or two off his pace when he came back. It seemed that Williams could become another of David Unsworth's U23 budding stars to step up into the first-team squad but that would not happen in 2017-18 as he agreed to go an a season-long loan with Barnsley, his Number 46 shirt going to Anton Donkor.

Williams impressed the manager, Marco Silva,  who hadn't seen Joe play until he came to Everton in the summer of 2018.  Williams had been utilised by Everton as a box-to-box player, while Barnsley used him as a holding midfielder and he impressed David Unsworth in that position on the four or five occasions Unsworth went to assess the lad's progress at Barnsley. 

Silva used Joe Williams in that position during pre-season and was thought to be keen on him, bumping him up to 32 in the first-team squad, but Joe suffered a thigh strain in  training which held his progress up again. He was later sent off to Bolton Wanderers for another season-long loan to get regular games and improve his fitness. However, there is a clause in his Bolton deal which says Everton can recall him at any time. 

FactFile

Squad number 46, 32
Position Midfielder
Nationality England
Born Huyton
Date of birth 8 December 1996
Height 6'-1" (1.85 m)
Joined July 2014
Joined from Everton Academy
Signed by Roberto Martinez
Transfer fee No fee
Contract duration 3 + 3 years
Contract expires June 2020
Debut (sub) TBD
Previous Clubs None
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Everton Career

Season Squad No. League Apps (sub) League Goals Cup Apps (sub) Cup Goals Total Apps (sub) Total Goals
2014-15
46
0 (0)
0
0 (0)
0
0 (0)
0
2015-16
46
0 (0)
0
0 (0)
0
0 (0)
0
2016-17
46
0 (0)
0
0 (0)
0
0 (0)
0
2017-18
*
0 (0)
0
0 (0)
0
0 (0)
0
2018-19
*
0 (0)
0
0 (0)
0
0 (0)
0
  Totals 0 (0) 0 0 (0) 0 0 (0) 0

* On season-long loans with Barnsley, then Bolton Wanderers


Loan Spells

Season Team League Apps Cup Apps League Goals Cup Goals
2017-18 Barnsley 33 (1) 4 (0) 1 0
2018-19 Bolton Wanderers 29 (1) 0 (0) 0 0

Academy Record

Season Team Appearances (sub) Goals
2012-13 Under-18s; Under-21s __ (__); 2 (0)  0
2013-14 Under-18s; Under-21s __ (__); 14 (0) & 2 (0) 0 & 0
2014-15 Under-18s; Under-21s;  4 (0); 11 (3) & 2 (0) 1; 1 & 0
2015-16 Under-21s 22 (0) & 6 (0) 1 & 4
2016-17 Under-23s 1 (1) & 2 (1) 0 & 0



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