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Bristol City have enjoyed a sparkling start to their Championship campaign, with the Robins picking up 15 points from a possible 24 up for grabs, registering four wins, three draws and one defeat in the opening few months of the season.
Lee Johnson has overseen a good campaign so far this season, which could be mainly attributed to the business that the former Oldham Athletic boss has conducted during the summer transfer window, with the ex-Barnsley manager bringing in a total of 13 new players to supplement his existing squad.
Amongst Johnson’s new signings, Welsh international Ashley Williams’ arrival at the club has largely gone under the radar, with the 35-year-old former Swansea defender joining the Robins on a one-year contract after being released by Everton during the summer.
Williams will add a great deal of experience to a Bristol City backline which is largely lacking in that department, with the Welsh defender having made over 600 club appearances in a career that started with the player being on the books of Stockport County. It is this experience that will prove vital to providing the likes of young defenders Taylor Moore and Jay Dasilva with advice and guidance during the campaign.
In addition to his experienced background, Williams also fits into City manager Lee Johnson’s style of play, with the 35-year-old being comfortable in possession of the ball.
As has been shown by the former Swansea man’s passing in his first few games for the club, with the centre half registering a success rate of 82.5%, averaging 57 passes per game, with only 3.5 of which being long balls.
Whilst he contributes significantly to playing the ball out from the back, Williams is also good at intercepting passes, meaning that he doesn’t necessarily have to position himself as high up as both Nathan Baker and Taylor Moore, with Williams being more than capable of acting as a sweeper in the middle of the back three.
With Johnson liking his team to attack through the middle of the field, it is no surprise that he has positioned Williams in that sweeping role of the back three, as he is more than capable of stepping into midfield to play long balls and short passes to both the midfield and frontline, all of which are skills that the 35-year-old developed during his time at Swansea City, a team who are well known for their possession-based football.
Lastly, Williams will also provide Johnson with another leadership figure within his squad, with the former Everton defender having captained both Swansea City and Wales for long periods of his career, meaning that he can step in for regular City captain Bailey Wright, whilst the 27-year-old Australian is out injured.