Shame not to see Williams in full flight for Pompey

112755-014_BORO_POMPEY_SR_6/8/11'Pompey vs Middlesborough at the Riverside Stadium.'Ryan Williams.''Picture:Steve Reid 112755-014
112755-014_BORO_POMPEY_SR_6/8/11'Pompey vs Middlesborough at the Riverside Stadium.'Ryan Williams.''Picture:Steve Reid 112755-014
Former Pompey player Eoin Hand, right

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Andy Awford admits he was left with mixed feelings after the departure of teenage prodigy Ryan Williams.

The Blues Academy boss saw the 17-year-old Australian sold to Premier League outfit Fulham.

Pompey received a fee reported to be just £400,000 on transfer deadline day.

Awford worked hard on the development of the winger in recent times.

And while he was disappointed not to see Williams stay to realise his full potential at Pompey, he is fully aware that the youngster could not refuse his chance when it came calling.

Awford said: ‘He went up with the first team but it was almost half a job done because we didn’t see the finished player.

‘I understand that it was a great opportunity for him to move to a well established and well run Premier League club and he couldn’t turn that move down.

‘So I’m delighted for Ryan.

‘It’s a great opportunity for him.

‘But from the club’s point of view, I’m disappointed we didn’t get the chance to keep hold of him and bring him through a bit more.

‘I know it’s a case of “needs must” sometimes – especially with the club in the situation it is.

‘I don’t know the ins and outs of the deal.

‘But he hadn’t made a first-team start for us and ideally you would have liked to see a player become a first-team regular and do well for a couple of seasons here before he goes on to get a move.’

Awford also revealed that Williams had benefited from a few home truths after losing his way under former Academy boss Paul Smalley.

The former Blues skipper said: ‘I came in a year ago and Ryan won’t mind me saying this but he wasn’t quite at the races with his attitude.

‘I put him straight on a few things as did Paul Hardyman and I think he (Williams) thrived on it.

‘He liked the discipline and the new direction we gave him and he knuckled down and worked hard.

‘He deserves his chance because he’s a really nice lad and is now seeing the benefit of that hard work.’