TRINIDAD AND Tobago defender Mekeil Williams is keen to continue learning and growing in the role as left-back, even as he prepares for the national team’s friendly versus Nicaguara tomorrow evening and TT’s opening round World Cup qualifiers in November against Guatemala and United States.
The 25-year-old, who recently joined Guatemala first division side Antigua GFC, was known predominately as a central defender during his days at DIRECTV W Connection.
Speaking on Saturday evening at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, during the “Soca Warriors” first training session since returning from Panama, Williams articulated how he has been adjusting to the role.
“Left-back is a role I have played before and I’m accustomed playing, as a few times at club level and when I was a youngster,” said Williams.
“My team-mate Daniel Cyrus who plays right-back for the national team, despite also playing centrally at club level with me in our W Connection days, has given me some tips as to what coach wants in the role, so I am enjoying it.” National coach Stephen Hart first deployed Williams in the aforementioned position during the 2015 Gold Cup group match versus Cuba, and the versatile “two-footed” player noted he has no burning desire to play centrally for the national team.
“I’m fine continuously playing at left-back if Coach Hart requires that, I have no urgent need to play center-back. Overall, I’m just keen to continue growing and learning the role at international level, and for us a back four defence to get a better understanding of playing together.”
Since taking over as national coach in 2012, the left-back position has been the most unsettled position among the defence- with Joevin Jones, Aubrey David, Sheldon Bateau and Justin Hoyte used there at various points in Hart’s tenure.
Hart felt in four games so far, Williams has adapted well to what has been asked him.
“So far he’s been fine, we know he can play centre back but I like his two-footed ability and the more he gets accustomed to it, he will get better.”
Hart continued: “In the situation, I can’t go out and buy a left-back like club football, so it’s great to have players like him that can play more than one position, because outside of goal-keepers, versatile players are going to be an asset for us heading in the qualifiers.” Hart concluded by stating he was grateful for these two friendlies to work on any kinks in the defence he observed during the Gold Cup and the Panama friendly.
“The back-line progression has gone well overall. We have not really had them as consistently as a group since the Gold Cup, for obvious reasons, so I’m very grateful for these games to work with them- to experiment and perfect tactical aspects of their play.
“We had had some problems defending out wide against Panama, but it’s best we have those problems now than later on,” concluded Hart.