Nottingham Forest: Neco Williams stars for Wales in World Cup hours after family bereavement
Nottingham Forest and Wales left-back Neco Williams starred in his nation’s 1-1 draw against the USA just hours after he was told his grandfather had passed away.
The 21-year-old put in a brilliant performance as Wales came from a goal down to claim a much-deserved point in their first World Cup match in 64 years.
However, the Wrexham-born star was dealing with his own personal news during his World Cup debut – after his mother told him of the passing of his grandfather – which made his performance even more admirable.
After the final whistle blew, the Nottingham Forest youngster was overcome with emotion as he paid an emotional tribute as the camera panned by, saying: “That was for you, Grandad.”
Later on Twitter, Williams tweeted: “Yesterday was the toughest news I’ve ever had to face and that was listening to my mum tell me my grandad passed away last night.
“To go from crying all day to starting in a World Cup game was extremely tough but I got through it from the support of my teammates and family.”
Man of the match
Let alone following the death of a close family relative, Williams’ performance was that of a player 10 years his senior.
As Wales struggled to gain a foothold in the game in the opening 45 minutes, it was the Nottingham Forest youngster who added passion and energy to the Welsh performance – dragging his teammates along with him.
He was always a willing runner down the left flank, and when Robert Page’s side managed to get themselves higher up the pitch as they pushed for an equaliser later in the game, the youngster was essentially playing as a left-winger.
He caused USA right-back Sergino Dest issues all night with his direct running and ever-willing presence to get on the ball, and alongside Keiffer Moore stood out for the Welsh team.
Even when pulling up with an injury in the closing stages Williams refused to bow down and continued to strain every sinew for his country.