Manchester United set to reward exciting young goalscorer with professional contract

Ethan Williams
-Credit: (Image: Manchester United)

After an impressive campaign representing Manchester United's academy, exciting youngster Ethan Williams is set to sign his first professional contract with the club

The Manchester Evening News understands Williams signed a pre-professional contract earlier in the season, which is set to officially begin this summer.

Williams contributed 17 goals and nine assists in academy fixtures this term and played a crucial role in a supremely talented Under-18 side that claimed a treble.

Now the season has ended, the announcement of Williams' professional deal will follow and the professional contract is his reward for continued progress in the academy.

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Williams joined United's academy from Rochdale at Under-14 level and has made particularly strong progress in the last 18 months, increasing his output in the final third.

The youngster celebrated his 18th birthday in November and is the nephew of Alex Williams, who rose to prominence in the early 1980s as one of the first black goalkeepers in the modern top flight, making over 100 appearances for Manchester City in a trailblazing career.

Williams is naturally a left winger, but he's occasionally played on the right this season and has also made 14 appearances for the Under-21s in the Premier League 2.

United's U18s claimed a treble by winning the Premier League North, the Premier League Cup and the Premier League National title, which completed a special campaign.

The U18s beat Chelsea 2-1 at Stamford Bridge to claim the Premier League National title and Williams scored and assisted in man of the match-worthy performance.

There have been comparisons between the current U18 crop of players and the United side that won the 2022 FA Youth Cup, which included the likes of Alejandro Garnacho and Kobbie Mainoo.

Williams has taken part in several first-team training sessions with Erik ten Hag in charge and, after earning his professional contract, will now attempt to make his senior debut.

Travis Binnion, manager of the U21s, recently told the MEN he was confident of more debuts. "I’d expect it to happen. I think the unknown is which ones," he said.

"Some players emerge and some will slow down. I believe we can achieve the same number of debuts and I think what they do is actually more important than debuts.

"Garna, Kobbie, I believe Willy Kambwala, will play a lot of football for us. I think debuts are one thing, but sustained impact is another and I believe that will happen with this cohort.

"We expect it to happen, we don't just think or presume it will, but there's an expectation within the academy staff and club that it will happen. I think with that comes a bit of pressure to make sure they’re good enough and the debuts under Erik ten Hag haven't been easy debuts."