'Barnsley negative comments are exceptionally harsh': Why Portsmouth have signed a cast-iron Championship player

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The Fratton faithful should ignore ‘negative comments’ and welcome a Championship-calibre player in Jordan Williams.

That’s the verdict of Andy Giddings, football commentator for BBC Radio Sheffield, who believes the Blues’ new signing has been unfairly tainted by being played out of position last season.

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Despite being an established right-back or right wing-back, skipper Williams answered Barnsley’s defensive SOS to operate as a right-sided centre-half for the majority of the campaign.

Jordan Williams has left Barnsley after six years to join Pompey. Picture: Peter NortonJordan Williams has left Barnsley after six years to join Pompey. Picture: Peter Norton
Jordan Williams has left Barnsley after six years to join Pompey. Picture: Peter Norton

As a consequence, the 24-year-old attracted criticism from some Tykes fans over mistakes in his unfamiliar role.

Nonetheless, Giddings is convinced Pompey have themselves a Championship player - in his correct position.

He told The News: ‘You may well have seen upon his departure a few negative comments about his performances this season. While he’s had his moments and mistakes were made, it is exceptionally harsh, possibly even sour grapes over him not staying.

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‘Barnsley as a defensive unit changed this season and he was the sacrificial lamb. That season in Michael Duff’s team he was a brilliant right wing-back, last season he had to play out of position at right centre-half.

‘While he can do it, the defensive unit as a whole is nowhere near as strong as it was the previous season and Jordan became kind of a focal point for all of that. In many ways he became the scapegoat. 

‘Barnsley had Mads Andersen, Liam Kitching and Bobby Thomas leave, there were intentions to sign more centre-backs too. Kacper Lopata was bombed out by Neill Collins, they signed a replacement in January with Donovan Pines who ended up out for the season.

‘So basically Jordan stepped in and, while there were a couple of mistakes from him as an individual that led to goals, he wasn’t any worse than anybody else in terms of the season as a whole.

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‘While Barnsley got to the play-offs, he didn’t show the levels of form from the season before, but that basically was because the defence was completely different - and he was no longer playing as a wing-back.

‘As a full-back, Jordan is steady, there is some quality there, he is a 7/10 man most weeks, so highly dependable. I think he’s a Championship player. 

‘Does he need good players around him as someone that has yo-yoed between the divisions? Yes, like everybody else I suppose.

‘But when Barnsley were in the Championship as opposed to League One, he’s not one of the players you worried about.’

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Williams featured 201 times for Barnsley after joining from Huddersfield as a teenager in the summer of 2018.

And the defender, who featured 52 times in the 2023-24 campaign, signed a three-year deal at Fratton Park on Friday.

Giddings added: ‘Jordan’s a good guy, he is someone who can be vocal and speaks well, but also leads by being very professional.

‘You have signed a good player, without question. He has always been one of Barnsley’s top performers and it’s not particularly a surprise that, upon the end of his contract, he has ended back in the Championship.

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‘It’s a level he’s comfortable with, but equally there’s room for improvement, he has been around for a long time and has a lot of appearances under his belt.

‘All of those things tied together, I would say Pompey have a good player there.’

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