At the age of 22, a Liverpool youth was on the verge of retiring, but one phone call changed everything.
Jordan Williams has had a rollercoaster ride of a career thus far.
The former Liverpool youth fulfilled a childhood dream by playing for the Reds in 2014, and he was instrumental in Bolton Wanderers’ promotion to League One this season.
On the surface, it appears to be a story shared by scores of former Liverpool prospects, who went on to have great careers in the Football League after failing to make the final step up at Anfield.
Underneath the surface, though, Williams’ story is quite different.
It’s been seven years since he made his lone appearance for the Reds, in a League Cup encounter against Middlesbrough, and six years since he got his first Wales call-up.
The Dragons face Switzerland at home on Saturday, and in another life, the midfielder would have been fighting for a spot in Rob Page’s side.
But, in the end, that first call-up for his country was the start of a dark road that almost led to Williams’ retirement due to a major knee injury when he was just 22 years old.
Thankfully, Liverpool and a New York physician had other plans for the midfielder, as a cartilage donor preserved his career.
In an exclusive interview with ECHO, he said, “I was on such a big high the week I returned back from Wales.” “On Thursday, I returned to (loan club) Swindon, trained on Thursday and Friday, and then we had a game on Saturday.
“I just remember the ball going over my head and me tackling from the side to get the ball back, but as I got up to start dribbling with it, I just remember a click in my knee. I worked on my meniscus.
“I had a chondral problem since I was 16 years old. The summary comes to a close.