Nico Williams’ Breakout Season at Athletic Club

Nicholas Williams Arthur, born on July 12, 2002, in Pamplona, Spain, holds both Spanish and Ghanaian nationality. Standing at 1.81 meters, he plays as a forward-left winger for Athletic Club de Bilbao. Currently, he is a key player for the team alongside his brother, Iñaki Williams. Known for his speed, dribbling ability, flair, and goal-scoring prowess, Nico has represented Spain in various youth categories and made his debut for the senior national team in September 2022.


Nico Williams has experienced a remarkable rise in his sports career since he began playing football in Pamplona. Developing through the youth ranks of Athletic Club, he made his debut in La Liga in 2021. Since then, he has become a significant player for the red-and-white team, contributing with goals and winning titles. He has also earned caps for Spain in different age groups, culminating in his debut for the senior national team.


Playing primarily as a winger, especially on the left side, Nico utilizes his speed and dribbling skills to outmaneuver defenders, providing crosses and taking shots. He can also play on the right, cutting inside to unleash powerful shots with his dominant foot. Known for his involvement in team plays, he combines well with teammates, offering support and displaying versatility by changing positions with other attackers.


For the 2023-24 LaLiga EA Sports season, Nico Williams showcased impressive statistics. In 19 appearances, he started in 18 matches, scoring 11 goals, making him the top scorer for his team and the fourth in the league. Additionally, he provided 7 assists, ranking as the second-best assist provider for his team and the fifth in the league.


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Nico’s remarkable dribbling skills are evident in his 65 successful dribbles, leading both his team and the league. He has received 42 fouls, making him the second most-fouled player on his team and the sixth in the league. Completing 79% of attempted passes, he is the fourth-best passer on his team and the twentieth in the league.


Defensively, Nico Williams has recovered the ball 23 times, ranking ninth for recoveries on his team and sixtieth in the league. With 17 fouls committed, he ranks sixth in his team for this metric and 30th in the league. Accumulating 3 yellow cards, he is the fifth-most cautioned player on his team and twentieth in the league, without receiving any red cards.


In the context of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, Nico Williams played all four matches, starting in two of them. He scored a goal and provided an assist, contributing to Spain’s advancement to the quarter-finals. In contrast, his brother Iñaki, who plays for Ghana, was eliminated in the group stage. Nico’s adaptability to Luis Enrique’s team and his performances alongside other young talents like Pedri and Ansu Fati have solidified his place in the national squad.


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Despite his success, Nico Williams faces several challenges in his career:


  1. Contract Renewal: Nico’s contract with Athletic Club expires on June 30, 2024, and negotiations for renewal are ongoing. He must decide whether to stay with his lifelong club or explore opportunities with a higher-profile team.


  1. Skill Improvement: While already a well-rounded player, Nico can improve aspects of his game, including consistency, precision in finishing, variety in offensive strategies, and increased contribution to defensive duties. His coach, Ernesto Valverde, has praised his talent but also urged him to work harder and be more versatile.


In conclusion, Nico Williams is undoubtedly a player with a bright future, earning respect and admiration from teammates, opponents, and fans alike. His continuous growth and success will likely be influenced by the decisions he makes regarding his career path and his dedication to enhancing various facets of his playing style.


By: Juanjo Montero / @JJMont3ro

Featured Image: @GabFoligno / Quality Sport Images / Getty Images