FOR Danny Williams, conclusive proof of his status as a Premier League footballer arrived in a way that he probably would not have envisaged during Huddersfield Town’s home game with Bournemouth last month.
With countless cameras situated around the grounds at every top-flight venue these days – with images subsequently beamed around the world – TV companies pick up almost everything that goes on in the Premier League.
As they did when stark and somewhat delicate footage of Williams suffering ‘a wardrobe malfunction’ came to light during Town’s 4-1 triumph.
The brief images subsequently went viral on social media with the Town midfielder afforded headlines he would rather have done without.
But in a career that has endured a few bumps in the road before finally reaching the world’s biggest and most popular domestic league at the age of 28, Williams admirably keeps things firmly in perspective.
It is, after all, just nine and a half months since Williams was part of the Reading line-up who suffered heartache at the cruellest of venues in Wembley at the hands of his current employers. The home of football is no place for losers, especially in a Championship play-off final.
The top-flight dream for the USA international looked over. But he was one of the lucky ones.
He was afforded a second shot at the big time with Town and remains forever grateful. Even accounting for the recent footage.
As the saying goes: Que sera, sera. Even if you suspect there has probably been a fair bit of banter from his team-mates.
Williams told The Yorkshire Post: “That is not important, it is a mistake and an accident. I am not a cameraman.
“He chose to zoom in on David’s face, while I was getting my pants right. That’s just what happened. But I do not think we should make (the incident) bigger.
“There are so many things that have happened for me personally that it does not bother me at all. I think the country had a big laugh.
“I think, in the football industry, it is normal with the culture. But it is how you deal with it. I am not a shy guy; it happened. That is in the past. I think we can move forward.”
He added: “I am a person who has always had to fight for everything in life. It was never really easy for me and I always had this fighting nature inside of me. It is the way I have been brought up.
“But obviously, when you lose the (play-off) final for a quick moment, you think, ‘Another long season after working so hard’. I played 50 games or something like that.
“Obviously to see your dreams being crushed is hard to take. But I have always believed in myself and I am very, very happy that David (Wagner) gave me the chance in the Premier League.
Heading into the definitive business stage of the season, Williams’s sole concern is on the here and now and having grafted so hard to reach the Premier League, along with a number of team-mates who have also endured a fair bit of blood, sweat and tears along the way before making a name for themselves, he does not intend on relinquishing it easily or any time soon.
This mental resolve, intent and tenacity will be tested during Town’s programme for the rest of this month and well into April when they face a number of rivals resident in their neck of the woods in the Premier League table.
Speaking ahead of this afternoon’s first keynote appointment against Swansea City at John Smith’s Stadium, Williams added: “What makes this team and this club so special and different to the other teams is that most of us have not played in the Premier League before.
“We all want to make sure we can show the rest of the world that we are good enough for the Premier League. We have showed that a lot of times this season, even when things did not go well.
“We have picked up points and shown loads of character. People are aware we are all hungry to stay in this league.
“I can only speak for myself, but I know how hard I have worked for the last four years and this season to be able to compete and play. It is really competitive in this position. I am sure others have done the same thing.
“We worked so hard and had a long season last year. Obviously some players won the final and some lost it, but when you are finally in the Premier League you want to be able to look yourself in the mirror at the end of the season and say that whatever happens you have done your best.”
Williams’s desire to end the season well is two-fold, with the midfielder, who celebrated his 28th birthday on Thursday, pursuing a World Cup dream with the USA.
Karlsruhe-born Williams, who qualifies for the USA due to his American-born father, was out in the cold under previous manager Bruce Arena, but has found a path back into the side under interim coach Dave Sarachan and hopes it is the precursor to involvement for the Stars and Stripes in Russia.
On his World Cup hopes, he added: “Football is a game of opinions and I cannot change a few opinions of previous managers. But the new manager gives me all the confidence and made me captain against Portugal (in November), so we shall see.
“One of the low moments was in 2014 before the World Cup when I had knee surgery. I worked hard in that season as well and finished the season strong and then had to have surgery three weeks before the World Cup. That was lower than last season when we lost the play-off final when we worked so hard as well to reach that game.
“But what does not kill you makes you stronger. It is how life goes and when you are at the end of the sunshine, you probably appreciate things a bit more.”