Fon Williams makes Wales International debut

Owain Fon Williams, Wales’ perennial unused substitute, finally came off the bench against Holland to make his Wales debut after six years of waiting

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Good things come to those who wait – and Owain Fon Williams has waited longer than most after more than SIX YEARS as a sub.

But the popular Inverness keeper got his reward for the huge test of patience when he won his first Wales cap in a friendly against Holland at Cardiff City stadium.

Williams was 21 when he first got his call-up to the senior Wales side having played his way through the age grade teams, named in John Toshack’s squad to face Poland back in 2009.

Yet he never got a chance to wear the Dragon on his chest in an actual game before Friday night, having spent a total of 29 games on the bench without stepping onto the field as the perennial reserve. Williams, now 28, has been in squads under three different managers and three different qualifying campaigns and is at a fifth different club since first being taken away on international duty.

But he has had to pick up splinters while Boaz Myhill, Jason Brown, Lewis Price and current No.1 Wayne Hennessey all won caps ahead of him.

Williams was 21 when he first got his call-up to the senior Wales side having played his way through the age grade teams, named in John Toshack’s squad to face Poland way back in February 2009.

Yet he never got a chance to wear the Dragon on his chest in an actual game before Friday night, having spent a total of 29 games on the bench without stepping onto the field as the perennial reserve. Williams, now 28, has been in squads under three different managers and three different qualifying campaigns and is at a fifth different club since first being taken away on international duty.

But he has had to pick up splinters while Boaz Myhill, Jason Brown, Lewis Price and current No.1 Wayne Hennessey all won caps ahead of him.

Williams, from Penygroes in Gwynedd, has been in every squad for the past three years and has been part of Coleman’s selections throughout the historic Euro 2016 qualifiers as back-up to pal Hennessey.

Williams, who paints in his spare time and is due to see an exhibition of his work go on display in North Wales this summer, is a popular member of the squad and leads the team sing-a-longs after victories with his guitar playing, strumming Elton John’s Your Song in the hotel following the memorable March win over Israel.

And his commitment has struck a chord with fans who handed him a standing ovation when he got his long overdue chance to call himself a fully-fledged international in the defeat to the Dutch as he replaced Hennessey with 16 minutes to go.

While Williams was on the pitch when Robben slotted the winner in the 3-2 defeat – Wales’ first loss at home in two years – it didn’t stop supporters giving the ex-Tranmere man their backing and were even encouraging him to come forward for an injury-time corner, Coleman receiving good natured boos when he told him to stay in his area.

Speaking before the game Williams said he has never had an issue with not playing, claiming he learns from simply being among the likes of Gareth Bale, outlining his pride in being part of something special.

“It’s great, because I go away and I’m constantly learning about different things,” he said recently. “There are world-class players in that team. To be among all them was fantastic for me. Reaching the Euros and playing for Wales would be amazing because I’m a very proud Welshman. If you do well enough at your club, hopefully you get rewarded by going away with the national team. I hope that will continue.”


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