Blistering pace and a footballing brain – a description of new loan signing Jonny Williams which will make Ipswich Town fans’ mouths water

Crystal Palace midfielder Jonathan Williams (foreground) in action for Wales against Macedonia

Crystal Palace midfielder Jonathan Williams (foreground) in action for Wales against Macedonia - Credit: Archant

Finally the signing so many Ipswich Town fans have been crying out for.

New loan addition Jonny Williams may only be available for the next seven games – starting with tomorrow’s visit of Birmingham to Portman Road – but he is just what the doctor ordered.

There was an almost palpable sense of frustration growing among the dwindling Blues faithful following a goalless bore draw at home to struggling Blackpool and 3-0 thrashing at Championship table-toppers Leicester City.

It’s undoubtedly been a season of huge progress, but stability is not sexy. The prospect of being sucked back into yet another mid-table finish, playing what manager Mick McCarthy has described himself as ‘stubborn and belligerent’ football, has left many seriously considering what they’ll do when the season ticket renewal forms drop on their doormats in the coming weeks.

And so it is with perfect timing that Williams has arrived.


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The 20-year-old will certainly add some spark to a midfield high on industry and organisation but often lacking in invention and guile.

The 5ft 5in player’s quick feet, close control and eye for a pass earned him the nickname ‘Jon-iesta’ among the adoring Eagles faithful due to the similarities he has with Barcelona and Spain superstar Andrea Iniesta.

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“He is the most level-headed, hard-working player that I’ve managed,” said Palace academy boss Gary Issott.

“If they were all like him the job would be a lot easier. There is not a flaw in his character. It’s nice to see the good guys get success.

“He genuinely just wants to learn and get better. He’s always done his best in every training session – whether that be indoors as an Under-12 or stepping up with the first-team. He doesn’t pick and choose. Jon only knows one way to play, and that’s to give everything that he’s got.

“It’s a concern when young boys are coming through whether they’ll be a reasonable height but Jon has adapted his game accordingly.

“The way he plays he doesn’t need the height – he has got blistering pace over the first five yards, to leave people in central midfield behind, and uses his brain. He takes the physicality out of it by getting away from people, although he’s not scared to get stuck in.”

Williams recently signed a contract extension until 2018 at Selhurst Park and has been sent out on loan to gain some match fitness, the ankle ligament damage he suffered while away on international duty with Wales last September having restricted him to just nine substitutes in the Premier league.

“Jonny is only going for a month initially because he is very close to our first-team,” said Palace co-chairman Steve Parish. “He just needs to get a bit more sharpness and play games. We didn’t want to let him go until the end of the season because we don’t know what our situation is going to be.”

Birmingham arrive at Portman Road tomorrow placed 16th in the league. Lee Clark’s side have won just two of their last eight games in all competitions. Town – who have won two of their last 12 – are looking to close a five point gap to the play-off places.

Williams – who trained with his new team mates for the first time yesterday and will wear the No.25 shirt during his time at Portman Road – said: “I did expect to go on loan at some point. There were a few clubs interested in me but Tony Pulis said he’d like to see me in the Ipswich side and I’m really excited to be here.

“I can’t wait to get back out there playing again. If I’m enjoying it and if we’re doing well then maybe after the month it could be extended until the end of the season.

“The gap to the play-offs is only five points – that’s two wins, that’s nothing. I’m looking forward to the challenge. Palace went up via the play-offs last season, having not finished so well, so anything is achievable in this league.”

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