Ro-Shaun Williams on his journey from Fletcher Moss Rangers to Doncaster Rovers and Grenada
If his strong performance in Doncaster Rovers’ League Two opener at Bradford City is anything to go by, then better times might just lie ahead.
The Mancunian centre-back started his career at Old Trafford where he played in the same youth team as the likes of Rashford, Axel Tuanzebe and Tim Fosu-Mensah.
Williams had initially been spotted at junior side Fletcher Moss Rangers, where he played with Rashford, among others.
Other famous names on the alumni of that leading south Manchester grassroots club include Danny Welbeck, Jesse Lingard, Tosin Adarabioyo, Tyler Blackett, Wes Brown and former Leeds United defender Kyle Bartley.
Williams told The Yorkshire Post: “My (former) coach Mark sometimes texts me and Dave Horrocks was the link between Manchester United and Fletcher Moss. It is a club which means a lot to me definitely and it helped me a lot.
“Quite a few young players at United and players who have had careers have played there, it is a popular club in south Manchester.
“Because of the area where it is, most of the boys would have gone to similar high schools and private schools. I still talk to the ones who did that. Marcus is still a good friend of mine. There’s a lot of talent in Manchester and in south Manchester, your parents want you to get into football and you enjoy football as a kid, so you are going to go to that team.
“Marcus was in my team and there’s a player called Shaun Hobson who went to Bournemouth, but plays for Southend now. He was probably one of the best kids there at that time.”
After joining Rovers from Shrewsbury last summer, Williams had a difficult first year at Doncaster and he was far from alone as the club dropped down into the fourth tier for the first time since 2016-17.
It was a campaign when Doncaster rolled over too often and were ultimately too easy to beat. Saturday’s opener at Bradford, when they chiselled out a point despite playing with 10 men for the whole of the second half, suggests that they might be a different proposition this time around.
They will have to be if they want to be successful. Williams’ leadership at the back, alongside fellow centre-half Joseph Olowu, was one of the most encouraging facets on day one when both were vocal presences as well against City.
He said: “I try to do that, but that is something that, in my position, you have got to work on anyway with being a leader and organising what is in front of you.
“Obviously, that makes your job easier when you do that.”
Club matters take major pre-eminence for Williams this season, but he has previously been on the international radar of Grenada while at Shrewsbury.
The ship has far from sailed on that front.
Shrews team-mates Aaron Pierre, Ollie Norburn and Omar Beckles were all picked for the Spice Boys’ (Grenada) during their time in Shropshire. At 23, Williams still has time on his side. He continued: “Hopefully, with my performances I can do that. It is becoming a lot more popular and I have been getting more leadership and experience.
“I have spoken to them a few times and had messages relayed from them. But I want to sort my club career out first.”