New boy backs youngster to make Pompey impact

112755-955_BORO_POMPEY_SR_6/8/11'Pompey vs Middlesborough at the Riverside Stadium.'Ryan Williams.''Picture:Steve Reid 112755-955
112755-955_BORO_POMPEY_SR_6/8/11'Pompey vs Middlesborough at the Riverside Stadium.'Ryan Williams.''Picture:Steve Reid 112755-955
Tareiq Holmes-Dennis limps off injured against Rochdale. Picture: Joe Pepler

Injured Holmes-Dennis pays tribute to Pompey

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Ryan Williams could tonight take his next tentative steps as part of Pompey’s first-team.

And Blues team-mate Luke Varney is backing him to be a sure-fit hit.

Academy prospect Williams may start in the Carling Cup clash with Barnet at Fratton Park.

Against Middlesbrough on Saturday, he appeared as a 64th-minute substitute, marking a Pompey debut at the age of 17 years, nine months and 10 days.

That established him as the seventh-youngest player to appear for the club in post-war league football.

It has been a rapid transition into the first-team set-up for Williams, who still has a year remaining with the Academy.

Yet the quick-footed winger has quickly caught the eye of Steve Cotterill, prompting the Blues boss to declare he will be part of his squad for the duration of the 2011-12 season.

Riverside Stadium goal hero Varney has also been impressed by the Australian’s introduction.

And he has every confidence the youngster will continue to make massive strides in the first team, potentially starting tonight against League Two outfit Barnet.

He said: ‘Obviously, I didn’t know a lot about Ryan, having only joined the club in the summer.

‘But straight away he impressed me.

‘It is never going to take long for someone with his talent to catch the eye, he is that sort of footballer.

‘You watch him, you watch what he can do in training, see what he has done in pre-season and he definitely has something about him.

‘He’s got such quick feet, has great movement and I’ve really been impressed with his willingness to work hard and that endless energy he has.

‘You look at him and think “this lad has got it”.

‘It’s funny, Ryan reminds me of myself at that age in terms of the enthusiasm and eagerness to do well.

‘He really has a good attitude and the talent to back it up and it’s great to see.

‘Obviously, he is still a young lad, this is just the start for him.

‘But I am sure it won’t be the end and we’ll be seeing plenty more of him for a long time to come.’

Football runs through the blood of the Williams family.

Father, Eric, was born in Kent and served as a full-back with QPR before emigrating to Australia.That ensures Ryan holds an English passport.

Then again, family connections ensure he also qualifies as Australian, Welsh and Indian.

Older brother Rhys plays for Middlesbrough and scored their second goal in the 2-2 draw on Saturday.

Ryan’s twin brother, Aryn, is currently on the books of Burnley’s Academy.

Meanwhile, mother, Audrey, who was born in India, represented the Australian womens’ football team.

She was also present at the Riverside to see both sons play on the same pitch in a professional fixture for the first-ever time.

Now the latest member of the Williams clan appears to be on the road to first-team football.

And tonight at Fratton Park fans could be able to have another look at the youngster who provided a tantalising taste of his talents against the Hawks during pre-season.

Varney added: ‘There aren’t any nerves with Ryan, but that could be down to his age. When you are 17 you do things instinctively, you tend not to have any fear and he certainly wasn’t affected when he came on as substitute against Middlesbrough.

‘He did well, too. He gave us a bit of extra zip and gave the opposition something different to think about.

‘Ryan’s a great lad, with a good sense of humour who has settled into the dressing room well.

‘We’ve all been having a bit of fun with him, making him do things for us, but he has been game and joined in with everything.’