Williams unable to resist the lure of top flight

Ryan Williams came on as a substitute against Chelsea earlier this season. Picture: Sarah Standing (120042-8320)
Ryan Williams came on as a substitute against Chelsea earlier this season. Picture: Sarah Standing (120042-8320)
Mohamed-Labib Maouche. Picture: Colin Farmery

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Ryan Williams admits he could not refuse the chance to join a Premier League side after waving a fond farewell to Pompey.

The 18-year-old winger completed a £400,000 move to Fulham as he became the Blues’ only piece of business on transfer deadline day.

Jason Pearce, Joel Ward and Stephen Henderson were all linked with moves but they ended up staying at Fratton Park.

And while Williams admitted he was sorry to leave, the opportunity to link up with an established Premier League club was too good to refuse.

He said: ‘The opportunity came up for me to join a Premier League club, so I don’t think it’s about jumping ship or anything like that.

‘Sometimes a chance comes along that may not come along again.

‘Everyone has been great to me at Pompey.

‘I’ve been associated with them since I was 13. Coming over from Australia, they have been like a family to me.

‘I’m really going to miss the place, all of the players, the staff and the fans. They were great to me.

‘They’ve got a brilliant fan-base and I hope things work out for the club.’

Williams was promoted into the first-team squad under Steve Cotterill and joined Pompey on their pre-season trip to USA.

But while he appeared six times as a substitute and was also a regular on the bench under Michael Appleton, he never started a game for the club before Fulham pounced.

Williams said: ‘It was down to the manager and he didn’t see me in his plans at the minute, although maybe that would have changed in time.

‘It feels like I’ve haven’t played that many games this season, so I didn’t mind playing in the reserve game for Fulham before I signed for them.

‘I’ve been on the bench a lot but that doesn’t mean you get to play too often.

‘I think it will take some time to settle in at a new club and then, ideally, I would be looking to get into the first team for next season.’