Ex-Burnley defender targets A-League deal

FORMER Burnley defender Aryn Williams is targeting a spot in the A-League after returning to Australia.

The 20-year old’s professional contract with the English Championship club finished at the end of last season.

Williams, the brother of Socceroo Rhys and Young Socceroo Ryan Williams, joined Burnley’s Academy in 2009 and worked his way up through the youth and reserve squads to earn a first-team deal in 2012.

“I was told at the end of my contract that I was good enough to sign on but at that current time the gaffer already had enough cover for the current position that I was playing in, which was right back,” he said.

“They said it would be for the best if I was to find another club elsewhere and push to be the second choice right back or even the starting right back at that particular club, instead of being third of fourth choice with no real chance of playing first team football that season.”

After finishing at the Clarets, Williams trialled with Sheffield Wednesday and Swindon Town.

“I went to Sheffield Wednesday for a week on trial but I didn't particularly enjoy it there and they weren't currently looking for a right back within the first team or the reserves set-up,” he said.

“I then went to Swindon Town for a game and they really liked me and invited me back for pre-season 2013/14 but again I had my sights set on playing in Australia and turned down the invitation from Swindon Town.”

Williams headed to the UK as a 16-year old from Perth club ECU Joondalup and was a regular feature in the successful Burnley side that reached the semi-finals of the 2011/2012 FA Youth Cup.

He has no regrets about his four years in English football, where he played against the likes of Manchester United and Manchester City reserve teams.

“I definitely don't regret the move to Burnley as it was exactly what I wanted to do at that particular time in my life,” he said.

“I gained knowledge on the pitch from the coaches I had, which I can take with me everywhere I go now, and I learned a lot off the pitch as well from the other players and mentors that worked within the club at Burnley FC.

“It was a period of time in my career that I will never forget and it has made me the player I am today, and given me the mentality to further my career and pursue my goal of becoming a professional footballer again.”

Since his return to Australia, Williams has been playing in the Western Australian State League with Floreat Athena to stay fit. He has also trialled with two A-League clubs.

“I have been on a couple of trials to Brisbane Roar and Western Sydney Wanderers,” he said.

“Unfortunately I was turned down on both occasions due to the fact that they had already filled their salary caps and the number of players that could be registered for the season had already been reached. It was a minor setback for me but I'm always ready for any offers thrown my way.”

Usually a right fullback, but able to play in the centre of defence and in midfield, Williams said he is considering a move to Asia if an offer in the A-League doesn’t come about.

“If any opportunity was to arise within Asia I would definitely consider it as I want to further my professional football career where ever it takes me,” he said.