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Former Charlton and Palace midfielder Jonny Williams on being a free agent and admits Cardiff release came as a shock


Former Charlton and Crystal Palace midfielder Jonny Williams has said he’s fit and raring to go for Wales in the European Championships despite the disappointment of finding himself a free agent again.

Williams, who spent 17 years at Palace before moving to Charlton in 2019, was released by Cardiff last week and, speaking from the Wales camp in Baku, Azerbaijan today, said the decision had come as a surprise to him.

“Originally, I thought I was staying, at the end of the season,” said the 27-year-old. “So it came as a bit of a surprise to me, but then football doesn’t surprise much any more; I’ve been in the game for 10years now and had lots of ups and downs.

“I’m a free agent again and I’ll keep fighting on and enjoying the game, wherever it may be. I wasn’t completely told what happened [at Cardiff] but at the end of the day, I hadn’t signed and someone’s taken a decision on that front so that’s that. I’ll move on and see what happens.”

Asked whether the Euros will offer him the chance to put himself in the shop window, Williams referred to one of the defining moments of the last championship, and Wales team-mate Hal Robson-Kanu, by replying: “I’ve been practising my Cruyff turns!”

“Obviously it’s never nice being released,” he added. “But I feel good in myself and I feel strong and I think I did well in the games I played [for Cardiff]. I just didn’t get the rub of the green regarding selection.”

Kent-born Williams harked back to the first half of the season at The Valley, when asked what it was like playing in front of the ‘Red Wall’ of Wales supporters again, as he did in a Euros warm-up against Albania in Cardiff on Saturday.

“I was fortunate enough to play in front of 2,000 [supporters] at Charlton earlier in the season,” said the midfielder, referring to the Addicks’ exemption from Covid-19 restrictions to stage a test event. “You can take it for granted, playing in front of a full stadium.”

Williams, who came off the bench on Saturday for his country, also paid tribute to his midfield team-mate Dylan Levitt, who put in an accomplished display. The Manchester United youngster had a planned season-long loan at The Valley cut short this season after only a handful of appearances but showed greater maturity in his latest international outing.

“With his range of passing and his ability, he’s only going to get better by playing games,” Williams told the South London Press. “I think the style of passing football we play suits him and the other younger players.”

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