LUKE WILLIAMS is out to prove himself. He doesn’t have to win over the manager he’s currently playing under, more so the one he has temporary left behind.
The 20-year-old has moved from Middlesbrough to Hartlepool on loan.
Pools boss Colin Cooper, who knows all about Williams’ talents from his time on Middlesbrough’s coaching staff, has already expressed his desire to keep him beyond his initial month.
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Out of contract at the Riverside this summer, Williams needs to impress Boro boss Aitor Karanka if he is to stay with his hometown club. He is one of a number of the club’s young talents currently looking to shine elsewhere.
Playing regular football in League Two can only help his cause. In three games so far, Williams has caught the eye, displaying the sort of natural talent that had him earmarked for stardom from a young age.
But his career at Boro has stuttered. Since his debut in 2009 under Gordon Strachan, he’s made just 16 starts and 15 substitute appearances.
Whether there’s a future under Karanka beyond the end of this season remains to be seen.
“This is a big step in my career.
I’m at the point now where I need to be playing games,’’ he admitted.
“I want to enjoy my football and do well for myself. At Boro the squad is massive, we have had 25 players training every day so it’s hard for everyone. There’s a few of us going out on loan.
“I’m happy to come here to enjoy my football and it’s a positive move for me.
“There’s a new gaffer at Boro and I have to impress him and make sure I catch his eye while I’m on loan here.’’ And he admitted: “It’s good to be here at Hartlepool – to play under a manager who believes in me, and to play with confidence is good.
Hopefully it will help me develop as a player, I’m really enjoying my football here and just want to keep playing and creating.
“We just need that little bit of extra quality in the final third, that’s what the gaffer talks about.
“Get that and we will go on a roll and keep winning and winning. We can’t keep playing as well as we are and not winning.
“I’m pleased with my own performances since I came, I just wish I could have scored and created more for other players as well, but I’m sure it will come.
“I’ve played games in this position I am playing in before.
It’s a good area to sit in the hole, create openings for others, and you see a lot of the ball in there.
“I’ve worked with the gaffer before, he’s always been great with me. He wants me to play with confidence and to express myself, which is the most important thing as a player.
“The gaffer and Higgy are very good at giving you confidence and believing in you, which always helps.’’ Three games in a Pools shirt and he’s had a win, a draw and a defeat.
Cooper has fielded Williams in his preferred position, playing in a deep-lying central role. At Boro most of his appearances have been on the wing.
“I like playing through the middle off the strikers, that’s my favourite position, where I can cause the most problems,’’ he added.
“It’s a bit different playing in League Two than what I’m used to and I still think I’ve got some more to learn about it.
“It will come with the more games I play and I hope I will get better for it.
“I knew a few of the lads here before I came and everyone has made me feel welcome.
“I thought Saturday (against Scunthorpe) was a good point for us, against a team who haven’t lost for a long time and are in the top three.
“It was a good game, we played some good second half football and it’s disappointing we didn’t win the game.
We could have tested their keeper more, but our keeper didn’t have anything to do.’’