Shawbury United proud of former youth product Dylan Williams' rise to Chelsea

Chairman and joint-boss Dave Richards has revealed Shawbury United's pride in the rise of Dylan Williams as the teenager sealed a move to Premier League giants Chelsea this week.

Blackpool's Dujon Sterling (left) and Derby County's Dylan Williams battle for the ball during the Sky Bet Championship match at the Pride Park Stadium, Derby
Blackpool's Dujon Sterling (left) and Derby County's Dylan Williams battle for the ball during the Sky Bet Championship match at the Pride Park Stadium, Derby

The left-back, 18, who is from Wellington, was snapped up by the west London outfit from Championship crisis club Derby County as the Pride Park exodus continues.

He played nine first-team matches under England and Manchester United record goalscorer Wayne Rooney after being picked up from Derby from Wolves' academy ahead of the 2020/21 campaign.

But Williams' formative years in on the park pitches of Shropshire help pave the way to Stamford Bridge and Shawbury stalwart Richards, who was a age-group coach who managed Dylan's elder brother Tyler at the time, admits it was clear from a very young age Dylan had something special.

"Just from a club point of view we couldn't be any prouder. It's always been a dream to have a player come through the junior section and go on to be a professional footballer," said Richards as it was confirmed Williams had joined up with Chelsea's youth set-up.

"There's a long way to go for him but he's definitely in the right place and I'm sure Chelsea will get the best out of him.

"It's brilliant, Dylan always stood out as a special player.

"Dylan played three years below my team for Steve Giles and Tracie Howells who used to run the team. It's funny because Dylan's gone to be a left-back and Gilesy is Shawbury's top scorer with five or six-hundred goals!

"It's credit to him and the family. But from Shawbury's point of view you always want all the volunteers' work to come to something.

"Dylan's a special player but it's just so nice to see a player go through the club. If somebody had told him he'd sign for Chelsea at the age of 18 he'd probably pinch himself but it's a sign of the hard work he's put in.

"I spoke to his dad at the back end of long year and Derby really rated him and thought the world of him."

Williams' time at Shawbury was among his first in football, he spent two seasons at the village club's thriving academy at under-8s and under-9s.

Left-footed Williams then played football in Oakengates and enjoyed a spell at Shifnal Town playing in the Midland Junior Football League before he joined the academy at nearby Wolves.

Williams was quickly promoted to Rooney's senior ranks at Derby and made his first-team debut in the FA Cup last season and has played eight senior games this season, including six in the Championship.

"Derby's situation has done Dylan a favour in a way, they've obviously been blooding the young kids and he's impressed at the level and Chelsea have taken note," Richards said.

"Even when he was a young kid you could see 'there's something in him, he's going to be a good player', but it couldn't have happened to a nicer lad and family.

"Dylan would be having a kickabout on the side of the pitch while his brother Tyler would play and you take a note at the time. He had ability even in a kickabout, I thought 'he wouldn't look out of place for the team I'm running'.

"I always remember him as very skilful, beating players. I think it happens to a lot of lads when they get older, to try different positions."

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