SHAUN Williams signed a one-year deal with Dons this week, and despite being a relative unknown this side of the Irish Sea, the midfielder arrives at stadium:mk with a pretty big reputation.
The 24-year-old, also accustomed to play at centre back, has made a big name for himself in the League of Ireland as he captained Sporting Fingal to promotion and an Irish FA Cup win which saw them compete in the early stages of the Europa League.
And despite only playing professional football for three years, Williams attracted attention from top flight clubs in England and Scotland. He had trials with Glasgow Celtic and Wolverhampton Wanderers while still under contract at Sporting, and also went on to play for Burnley’s reserves after the Irish club folded in February.
After impressing on trial at Celtic Park last November, the Scottish Premier League giants put in a transfer bid for Williams, only to be turned away by the Fingal County Council-backed club which was later forced to withdraw from the League of Ireland because of financial difficulties.
Williams scored 17 goals in 61 appearances for Sporting after signing from Drogheda United in 2009. In November 2009 he was part of the then First Division Sporting team that came from 1-0 down to beat Premier side Sligo Rovers in the FAI Cup final with goals in the 84th and 90th minutes. He also played for the League Representative XI against Manchester United in front of 40,000-plus spectators in a match to mark the opening of the new Aviva Stadium in Dublin.
Dons are still waiting on confirmation from FIFA and the Football League as to whether or not Williams will be able to feature for his new side this season, but even if he doesn’t, he’ll certainly be one to keep an eye on when he does eventually step out at stadium:mk.