Exclusive: Jonny Williams on his Charlton Athletic future, time out due to injury and relishing the challenge of the Championship run in

BY RICHARD CAWLEY
richard@slpmedia.co.uk

Jonny Williams has described himself as “relaxed” over his future – with the Charlton Athletic attacker having plenty to play for in the final  four months of this season.

A knee injury sustained in October saw the 26-year-old miss 14 Championship matches – the Addicks picking up just seven points in that period – before his return to the first-team fold at the start of January.

Both Williams and Charlton were bang in form at the time the Wales international damaged his miniscus in an impressive 3-0 victory over Derby in SE7. The former Crystal Palace man had five assists and was performing near to his peak.

“I was playing with confidence and that’s the main thing as a footballer,” said Williams. “If you are not confident then you might as well not bother.

“We were flying as a team and it was one of the best periods I’ve had in my career. Hopefully I’ll get back there as soon as possible. It is a great bunch of lads – it’s like playing with your friends. I’ve missed it.

“It takes a bit of time after you have been out so long. I’ve got to be realistic, I’m still not fully at it yet – that only comes with games. If I’m not 110 per cent I get annoyed because I want to bomb around the pitch and give my all.”

Last summer was a new experience for Williams as he became a free agent. He quit the Eagles in January to sign for Charlton until the end of the campaign – ending with him making a major impact off the bench at Wembley as they won the League One play-off final against Sunderland.

Williams eventually signed a 12-month contract with the SE7 outfit and once again his future could be up in the air as the campaign heads towards completion.

“Winning at Wembley was the perfect scenario and then I ended up staying and that was ideal too,” he said. “I feel relaxed about it. I’m at my happiest when I’m on the pitch with the boys and we’re getting good results and good performances.

“My body feels good, so there is no reason not to feel optimistic. I’m doing what I love. I don’t take any day for granted. What will be, will be in the summer.

“I’ll do what I usually do – play my heart out and see where it takes me.  I never play within myself. I have to be fully at it. It would be nice to get some wins and give some positivity to the new owners.

“The injury was frustrating but the only good thing was that I couldn’t really blame myself this time.  I’ve watched the video of it a few times. I made the tackle, won the ball and then it was just a clash of knees. It was nobody’s fault, just one of those freak things.

“It didn’t feel like anything at the time. I carried on for a couple of steps and then realised my leg didn’t quite like that – I couldn’t really walk.

“I had to get something done that required surgery and a length of time without playing. I had to take that on the chin and work hard to get back. I’ve had setbacks before and I’m a strong character.

“We’ve got a great dressing room and that makes the time go a bit quicker.

“I had a lot of company because of the amount of injuries we had. It wasn’t great for the boys left because we were down to the bare bones and at times they were playing every match. You wonder where we would be in the table if we hadn’t had 13 or 14 players out all at the same time.

“We started the season so well and now we are looking below us a little bit. We have to all pull together because there are some big games coming up – that’s what every footballer wants.

“We could do with getting a few more bodies back because there are a lot of games in February. We’ve lost Conor [Gallagher] but hopefully Culls [Josh Cullen] is back soon.”

Williams’ career at Palace was stunted by injuries but he points out  that he had more than 12 months almost free of issues before his latest spell in the treatment room.

“In the first half of last season at Palace I was fit up until I signed for Charlton and then I only missed two or three games,” he said.

“I’d played 12 games this season before I got injured. I look at last season and mine didn’t start until I joined Charlton, because I’d only played one cup game for Palace.

“So while I’ve been injured I still believe it has been a progression from last season.

“Hopefully I can play the remaining 20-odd games in the Championship and get back to where I was.”


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