Crystal Palace loanee Jonny Williams tells opponents ‘kick me if you can’ and refuses to rule out a return to Ipswich Town next season
Jonny Williams has issued a ‘kick me if you can’ warning to opposition players ahead of Ipswich Town’s exciting finale to the season.
The 20-year-old tricky midfielder has been a revelation since joining on loan from Crystal Palace, his direct-running and close ball control in the No.10 role adding some spark to Mick McCarthy’s organised and hard-working side.
Several teams have singled him out for some rough treatment, but the softly-spoken, slightly-built, 5ft 6in youngster has refused to be intimidated. Not only has he infuriated markers by jumping straight back from heavy challenges with a smile on his face, but he has also given as good as he’s got.
“It’s a good job there is something called ‘Game Ready’ which you can put on your bumps and bruises,” he joked, speaking ahead of tomorrow’s game at Watford. “Being targeted is just something I’ve had to deal with.
“I got it particularly bad against Derby. There was one tackle that was front on, straight on my knee; I don’t know how he didn’t get a red card for that. Goodness knows how my mum feels watching it from the stands.
“It’s something I’ve had to grow up with because I’ve always been smaller than a lot of the lads throughout the age groups. I’ve got two older brothers too so I’ve grown up getting kicked! Maybe I could get a bit more protection from referees, but I guess it’s just a complement.
“If someone catches me with a late tackle I just see it as football, I don’t feel like flipping. I had it at Wolves a couple of years ago with Karl Henry, that wasn’t pretty, but it’s one of those things. You just have to get up and keep playing.”
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Meanwhile, Williams – who could have his loan spell extended to cover the play-off matches should Town finish in the top six – is refusing to rule out a return to the Blues on loan next season.
With Palace looking to have secured their Premier League status thanks to a fantastic run of form under manager Tony Pulis, Williams said: “Who knows what will happen? I’ve signed a long deal at Palace, I’m contracted with them for four more years and, having come through their academy, it was nice to sign that.
“I’ve really, really enjoyed my time here though. I’d never worn another jersey other than Palace’s so to pull on the training kit here for the first time was a bit weird. I seem to have grown into it though and I feel part of something special.
“It was a bit daunting arriving as the new boy at such a tight-knit group, but everyone has been so welcoming and I feel like I’ve been here all season.
“I’m starting games and playing in the position that I like under a manager who believes in me and trusts me. I knew straight away that I wanted to stay on beyond the original month.”