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💬 Randell Williams: "I have done a lot of work with Wayne (Carlisle), he has been a great mentor for me."

Randell Williams touches on his wing back role at the club and how he has received lots of help from assistant manager Wayne Carlisle

15 November 2019

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When Randell Williams raced onto a perfectly wighted through ball from Archie Collins in the home match against Plymouth Argyle - to then chip the keeper and score his first goal for the club - it must have felt somewhat odd.

That is because the London-born winger is normally the one providing the assist. Ahead of yesterday's home match with Cheltenham Town, he had seven to his name, which put him ahead of any other player in the division for goals created.

And when you look at the top four leagues in English football, only Kevin de Bruyne – with eight – beats him. It is impressive company. However, Randell’s form been just that this season, especially when you consider that his role of right-wing back is a relatively new one to him.

He recently picked up the club’s player of the month award for October and says he is pleased with how he is playing so far this campaign.

“It has been good, and I thank those that voted for me for that month,” he said. “I can only keep on improving and that is credit to everyone here who is helping me progress – the boys on and off the pitch have been brilliant with me.”

Whilst assisting his teammates is something that seems to come natural to Randell, it also seems to be a character trait of those around him.

The 22-year-old, who signed for the Grecians in January from Watford, has adapted to his right-wing back role pretty quickly thanks to the help of coaches and players at the club, including assistant manager Wayne Carlisle who made more than 300 EFL appearances bombing down the right wing and sending in telling crosses for the likes of Exeter City, Leyton Orient, Bristol Rovers, Swindon Town and Crystal Palace.

“Wing back is a new position for me,” said Randell. “It is something I have got to get used to because the gaffer has decided to play me there.

“However, I have done a lot of work with Wayne (Carlisle), he has been a great mentor for me, just every day doing extras with me and trying to make me be the best I can be.

“Greener (Dan Green) has also been a large part of that, but Wayno (Wayne Carlisle) has really taken me under his wing and really tried to hammer down things about getting consistent on deliveries and finishing and it is slowly paying off.”

Randell started off at City as a right-sided midfielder, having played that role with Tower Hamlets, Crystal Palace, Watford and Wycombe Wanders. However, the role of wing-back means he has to help out more on the defensive side of things and cover more ground.

“As a winger you don’t really do much defending but as a wing-back it is a whole different story,” smiled Randell. “At times, when you are dominating the game, it is really nice to get up and down the wing because you are dominating possession and most of the time you are high, but when the game favours the offer team it becomes a lot tougher job. However, the manager believes I can do it and I just hope I can continue to do it.

“It is a lot more demanding in terms of distance you have to cover, for sure, but Sweenz (Pierce Sweeney) has been part of my progression as well. He’s always talking to me and always trying to keep me high because he knows that is what I am good at and as long as I have got his help from behind, I am sure I will be alright.”

Randell is also no stranger to hard work. He was a talented young footballer who was spotted by scouts at a young age playing on the fields off Market Street in Camden, but having left the youth system at Tottenham at an early age he had to graft and earn his way back into professional football and part of that involved him playing men’s football in the ninth tier with Tower Hamlets at the age of 15.

“I just really wanted to play men’s football because creating opportunities for myself was tough at the time,” he said. “However, luckily enough I was picked up by an agent and he has helped me get where I am, the rest is up to me now really.

“I learnt a lot from playing for Tower Hamlets. I think any player should go and play men’s football as young as possible. It is a whole different level. Under-23s is good for development and technique and stuff like that, but in terms of competitiveness and grabbing three points on a weekend, it is a whole different ball game.”

On the back of that spell, Randell went into youth setups with Crystal Palace and Watford before being signed on loan by Wycombe Wanderers and making his first Football League appearance.

“Wycombe was a fantastic place for me,” said Randell. “The gaffer (Gareth Ainsworth) was amazing with me. I couldn’t have asked for a better first manager to start under. They are flying at the moment, so congratulations to them but it was amazing feeling to go there.

“Three years before I was playing non-league in the ninth tier, so for me to get into League Two to play in front of thousands of people, was something special.”

Randell helped Wycombe Wanderers to automatic promotion from Sky Bet League Two during his time at Adams Park and, having left Watford to join Exeter City on a permanent basis, he is now setting his sights on achieving the same with the Grecians.

However, he admits it will be a team effort, nobody can propel a side to promotion on their own.  

“The top three is something we really are trying to get into,” he said.

“Automatic promotion would be ideal of course but we have got to better, especially in away games than we are at the minute.

“I think our home performances have got better over time, but our away performances, which were brilliant at the start of the season, have sought of dipped down a little bit. However, we have got a great squad here and I think we can keep on improving and doing the best we can out here in training and then hopefully produce on the pitch.

“It is a team effort as well, we can only go out there and win together. You cannot win individually, you can have individual moments but together we win and we lose, that is all we can do.”


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