Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy has revealed that Blackburn Rovers defender Derrick Williams suffered a calf strain in their 3-1 friendly over New Zealand, but that he has been impressed with the performances of the 26-year-old while on international duty.
Williams was handed just his third cap for the Republic of Ireland on Thursday night, and the defender made sure it was one to remember, as he brilliantly headed in from a corner on the stroke of half-time to equalise for the Republic, after debutant Callum McCowatt had earlier given New Zealand the lead.
Just 11 minutes into the second half however, Williams was withdrawn to be replaced by Bristol City’s Callum O’Dowda, as goals from Sean Maguire and Callum Robinson sealed a come from behind win for the Irish.
Speaking about Williams after the game, McCarthy was keen to heap praise on the Backburn man, while also explaining the reasons behind his substitution, with Ireland manager quoted by Irish football outlet Extratime.ie as saying: “Derrick Williams was excellent this evening. I was delighted he got his goal. I’ve been really impressed with him. I took him off because of a little calf strain.”
Mick McCarthy: "Derrick Williams was excellent this evening. I was delighted he got his goal. I've been really impressed with him. I took him off because of a little calf strain."
— Extratime.ie (@ExtratimeNews) November 14, 2019
Williams has been a key figure in Blackburn’s defence this season, having featured in 15 of their 16 league games so far, scoring on three occasions.
That importance has been further intensified by long-term injuries to left-back Greg Cunningham and centre back Darragh Lenihan, two positions which Williams himself is adept in.
Can Blackburn break into the Championship top six this season?
This will be a big concern for Blackburn.
While the fact that McCarthy has given such a glowing tribute to Williams is encouraging with regards to what he is doing and can still do for Rovers, that injury update will be a concern.
Williams has been one of Blackburn’s most impressive performers so far this season, so they will not want to see him sidelined by injury for too long, particularly when they are already short on numbers in defence.
You imagine therefore, that many of a Blackburn persuasion would be relieved if Williams was to cut his international duty short now, to give himself the best chance possible of being ready to face Barnsley in the first game after the international break a week on Saturday.