Barnsley wing-back Jordan Williams has spoken of the tactical changes new manager Markus Schopp has implemented since Valerien Ismael’s departure, in an interview with the Tykes’ iFollow team.
The 21-year-old managed to get himself on the scoresheet against League One side Sheffield Wednesday in Saturday’s friendly, opening the scoring with a long-range effort in the 22nd minute before Clarke Oduor made it two in the second half.
And after making a good impression at the weekend, he could potentially become a more regular starter for the Tykes after making an average 21 Championship appearances last season, largely due to injuries and being benched in the latter stages of the campaign.
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Williams signed a new three-year contract back in October to extend his stay at the club until 2023, with the club having the option of adding a further year to this deal.
With this, he’s likely to be a long-term option for manager Schopp to utilise at Oakwell and can play anywhere across the back as well as in a more advanced wide position, giving the Austrian plenty of options to explore and potentially maximising the 21-year-old’s game time.
One thing that could persuade him to stay if there’s interest from other clubs in him in the future is Barnsley’s manager, with the wing-back seemingly enjoying life under the 47-year-old and his playing style after being instructed to venture forward more.
Speaking to Barnsley’s iFollow team, Williams said: “It was good to get a goal to be fair but, to get it in that way was even better.
“Earlier on, I had one where I didn’t shoot and passed it inside, and I think he (Cameron Dawson) thought I was going to do the same and I caught him out a little bit.
“Because I’m playing on the left-hand side, the gaffer is saying to come inside more to get my shots off. He likes us to have a few shots around the box.
“We’re trying to play a bit similar to last year but a bit more passing in spells, not going as long as much, and you could see that.
“We played out from the back more, into midfield and into the strikers and linked up there.”
Although Valerien Ismael’s style of play worked very well last season and managed to get the best out of his Barnsley players, a slight change in strategy is needed to retain the unpredictability needed to thrive in the Championship – and the new manager seems to be providing that.
They do need to be careful defensively in encouraging their wing-backs to venture further forward and have to be wary about counter attacks when they’re the dominant team.
However, it’s great to see the South Yorkshire side express themselves with such attacking intent and we can only hope they keep his strategy in place for the start of the season.
If they do, we could see some goal fests in the Championship during the next campaign – an exciting prospect for all.