Neco Williams produced an outstanding display as Wales sealed history on Sunday night, with a 1-0 victory over Ukraine clinching their place at the World Cup.
Andriy Yarmolenko’s first-half own goal was enough to decide a hard-fought clash in Cardiff, with Wales goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey delivering a stunning performance.
After a long qualifying campaign, this playoff final saw Wales book their return to the World Cup after 64 years away – their last appearance in the finals being 1958, when they reached the quarter-finals in Sweden.
It was a triumphant moment for Rob Page, his staff and the players at the final whistle, with Liverpool full-back Williams at the heart of the celebrations.
The 21-year-old, who spent the second half of last season earning promotion with Fulham, was one of Wales’ standout performers at left wing-back.
His display caught the eye of Liverpool and Wales fans alike, with many taking to social media to praise the young defender:
Neco Williams fantastic again for Wales today. Has suffered due to the incredibly high standards Trent and Robertson have set, but there’s clearly a player in there. Relentless.
— Leanne Prescott (@_lfcleanne) June 5, 2022
Neco Williams is brilliant, relentless.
— ??????? ?????? (@AnfieldEffect) June 5, 2022
I think people already know what I think of Neco Williams, an elite player in the making. But tonight he also put in crunching ‘parks type’ challenges, which Liverpool stars don’t normally need to. He’s a very very special talent, non stop bundle of energy. Entire back 6 v good
— Paul Abbandonato (@PaulAbbandonato) June 5, 2022
Neco Williams was absolutely sensational tonight my word
— RW (@RW002_) June 5, 2022
Well done Wales.
Neco Williams was fantastic there.
— Steven Kelly (@SteKelly198586) June 5, 2022
If you watched that game and still don’t rate Neco Williams get your head checked
— Caden ???????? (@lfc_caden) June 5, 2022
Neco Williams is consistently brilliant as a left wing-back for Wales. Liverpool have a proper player on their hands
— Sam Dean (@SamJDean) June 5, 2022
Neco Williams , Ben Davies , Hennessy sensational
Page and the coaching staff
Rest of the team and country , the sheep the dragon every fucker what a feeling congratulations ??????? ????
— Nathan Brown (@brownybiglip) June 5, 2022
Neco Williams finishes the match with 5 tackles (most in the team), 4 interceptions, 2 clearances and 7 out of 7 ground duels won.. an superb defensive performance from the wingback
— Megan Feringa (@megan_feringa) June 5, 2022
Neco Williams , put some respect on his name
— Dic Penderyn ??????? (@cymrocarn) June 5, 2022
Neco Williams was so good in that game
— Halps (@LFCHalps) June 5, 2022
Neco might actually be the future
— Who Is Gr?gg??? (@greggislocallfc) June 5, 2022
If Neco Williams isn’t knighted by Tuesday then something is wrong. Absolutely outstanding today.
— Rhys Lloyd (@rhys_boy87) June 5, 2022
Neco Williams. 21 years old and joins a team on loan who go on to become champions, and his country get to the World Cup. Not a bad time for him this year hey?!
— Laura ? (@Laura_Rads) June 5, 2022
Some team is going to pay a good amount of money for Neco Williams and they will get a damn good player too.
— half underscore turn (@half_turn) June 5, 2022
Williams himself described it as a “dream come true” as he reflected on Wales’ qualification on Instagram, and he now stands to play a key role for his country in Qatar.
Their progress to the World Cup may force Williams’ hand when it comes to his future at Liverpool, though, with the need for regular game time paramount ahead of the mid-season tournament.
The club are seeking a fee in the region of £15 million for their academy graduate, who has already made 33 appearances for the first team.
No destinations have been mooted yet, though Fulham could return with a permanent bid after an impressive loan and their return to the Premier League, while Leeds, Southampton and Aston Villa have been linked in the past.