Danny Williams has opened up about his Reading exit in 2017.
Williams, now aged 31, joined Reading from 1899 Hoffenheim ahead of the 2013/14 season. In his four years at the club he would make 156 appearances, scoring 13 goals, but he left for Huddersfield Town in 2017.
The Terriers had just been promoted to the Premier League under David Wagner, and Williams said in a Sky Sports interview on Instagram that the German was the main attraction of his move:
“I knew David Wagner from Germany and we had spoken a few times before when Huddersfield had played Reading,” explained Williams, who was born in German, but holds both German and US citizenship.
“But my focus was completely set on Reading,” he continued. “If we went up with Reading I think I would have extended [my contract for] another four years at Reading.”
Reading achieved a 7th-place finish in Williams’ first season at the club, followed by disappointing 19th-place and 17th-place finishes in the following two seasons.
But the US international’s best season with the club came in his last, the 2016/17 campaign under Jaap Stam where Reading finished 3rd, but lost to Huddersfield in the play-off final.
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“I loved Jaap Stam, I loved the coaching staff, I loved the sporting director (Brian Tevreden) and I felt at home there,” said Williams.
“Reading will be forever the club I feel most connected to and of course I had a dream of taking them to the Premier League and enjoying it with them but I was very clear – and I know I got a lot of stick from the fans for my move – but there was no indication I was going to sign for Huddersfield.
“It just happened that I was a free agent and David Wagner spoke to me. I didn’t want to wait any longer to see what other clubs would pick me, with him I had a great relationship and he convinced me. He really liked me as a player so the decision was easy.
“At the end of the day it looked a bit strange and I understand the stick I got from the Reading fans but that’s football and if I had a chance I would do exactly the same thing again.”
Williams made 20 appearances for Huddersfield in the Premier League but was released last summer having featured just five times in the Championship last season.
He then signed for Cypriot outfit Pafos, but he decided to mutually terminate his contract earlier in the campaign and is once again a free agent.
Williams’ initial arrival at Reading really excited fans, and in his four seasons at the club he established himself as a good Championship midfielder.
His move was understandable after Reading have just missed out so narrowly but it was also understandable that fans didn’t agree. Now aged 31 and at a crossroads, Williams may yet return to English football.