BIG INTERVIEW: Jonny Williams on the prospect of extending his Ipswich Town stay, wearing the No.50 shirt and being inspired by Real Madrid star Gareth Bale
Ipswich Town will look to extend their eight-match Championship unbeaten run at Cardiff City tonight. STUART WATSON spoke to loan star Jonny Williams.
Q: Hi Jonny. First of all, it’s great to see you back!
A: Thanks. I’ve enjoyed my first couple of weeks back here. We’ve been unfortunate in the last couple of games, but we’re still unbeaten in eight and I’m really enjoying it.”
Q: You obviously enjoyed your time here at the back end of last season. Did you think you’d end up coming back?
A: “To be honest I wasn’t too sure what would happen. It was a case of going in to the first few games with Palace, seeing if I was involved and if I wasn’t a loan was always likely because I need to be playing regularly at this stage of my career.
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“Ipswich seemed like the right move after last year and I’m delighted to be back.”
Q: What’s Neil Warnock said to you?
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A: “He just wants me to play in a more central position and play as many games as I can to get my fitness back up. The main thing is to play games in a central position while they do well in the Premier League.”
Q: Were there other options for you?
A: “I think there were rumours of other clubs, but deep down I knew where I wanted to go. Not that I had any say in it, that’s the club’s choice, but I’m delighted to be back.
“I’ve only got positive things to say about last year, the manager has been fantastic with me and there’s a real good strong bond in the team at the moment as you can probably see on the pitch.
“The fans have been great with me too. It feels like I haven’t really been away to be honest. It just feels like I’ve had a really long summer.”
Q: David McGoldrick said he was disappointed not to have played alongside you last season when he was injured. What’s it been like playing alongside him at last?
A: “He’s a great player. I didn’t managed to train or play with him last year, which was a shame, so I’m delighted to be doing that now. We’ve got a great relationship on the pitch and hopefully that will continue to improve the more we play together.
“Murph’s a very strong player too so it’s great to link up with them.”
Q: Do you feel this Ipswich Town team can up there challenging for promotion?
A: “Yeah, definitely. We have some serious strength in depth at the moment. Jack Collison isn’t even getting on the bench at the moment and he’s a top player. Darren Ambrose has come in too. Tommy Smith just slotted straight back in with Luke Chambers ill at the weekend.
“If we carry on doing what we’ve been doing then we’ll be up there. We’ve just got to cut out these 90th minute goals we’re conceding because they’re killing us at the moment.”
Q: It’s a 93-day loan. Would it be difficult to go back to Palace if Ipswich are right up there competing for promotion?
A: “Yeah. I think we’ll have to see in January what each manager wants to do with me. It would be great to be in and around the top six.”
Q: You’ve just been away with Wales for Euro 2016 qualifying. Do you enjoy representing them?
A: “I love going away with Wales. We have a great manager and the boys are really bonding now. We’ve done all we can so far. Seven points out of nine and we go to Belgium next. I wouldn’t be surprised if all the home nations are in with a chance of qualifying towards the end.”
Q: Cardiff City on Tuesday night – a ground you know well.
A: “It feels like I’ve been living there for the last few weeks, it feels like my home ground at the moment.
“It will be a tough game, they’ll be there or thereabouts I’m sure, because they’ve still got Prem quality.
“At the moment it doesn’t really matter if we’re home or away though, we still go out to attack teams. That’s the best way to go about it and I think we’ve been unlucky not to pick up more points on the road. We’ll go there and have the same game plan we’ve had in the last few weeks.
“It’s slightly more attacking the way we’ve been playing this year. We’ve got some real strength and quality up top that we’re trying to utilise.”
Q: Going back to Wales, I see that Gareth Bale tweeted a picture of you two to his five million followers.
A: “I didn’t expect that. I must admit it was a bit strange when he was asking me for a picture to put on social networking! I get on really well with him. It’s a bit surreal because he’s a world star now.
“It’s weird because we should treat him as a superstar, but he’s so down to earth. He’s really humble and we all just get on with him as we always have done.
“He’s one of the most professional players I’ve worked with. It’s great to learn off someone like that and watch what he does. He deserves everything he’s got because he’s made a lot of sacrifices to get there. He’s a fantastic player and a great player.”
Q: The ‘Joniesta’ nickname seems to have well and truly stuck now. I hear the manager got you an Ipswich shirt with that on the back when you left?
A: “Yeah! I got that framed asap. That was a really nice touch.”
Q: Talking of shirts, why have you gone for squad number 50?
A: “I picked 50 because there weren’t that many numbers left! I would have liked 25, but it wasn’t available so I doubled it up instead. If I come back a third time I probably won’t go for 75 though!”