McWilliams ready to take on a more senior role at Cobblers

He might only be 23 himself but Shaun McWilliams accepts he will have to take on a more senior role at the Cobblers this season.

By James Heneghan
Thursday, 28th July 2022, 9:29 am
Updated Thursday, 28th July 2022, 9:44 am
Shaun McWilliams has looked sharp in pre-season. Picture: Pete Norton.
Shaun McWilliams has looked sharp in pre-season. Picture: Pete Norton.

Despite his previous struggles with injury, the midfielder, who signed a new two-year deal in June, has already racked up 157 senior appearances, all for his hometown club.

And with Jon Brady placing an emphasis on recruiting young players this summer – five of Cobblers’ nine signings are aged 22 or under – there is an onus on someone like McWilliams to step up and take the lead.

"I'm a confident guy and a confident player so I will always thrive on having more responsibility,” said the 23-year-old this week.

"I'm ready to learn and I will listen to anyone and I will always try and take on board new information.

"Whenever I go out onto the pitch, I give it my all and that's what I will do again this season.”

It could be argued that McWilliams finished last season as the most in-form player wearing claret.

He was man of the match in both play-off semi-final ties against Mansfield Town and enjoyed his most productive campaign in terms of games played, finishing with 43 appearances in all competitions.

"I'm buzzing to get back to it,” he added. “The break has been a lot shorter than normal so it's come around quickly but we are footballers and we want to play football.

'Before you know it, it will be Christmas so you have to get off to a good start and that will be our focus. I feel we have a decent squad here and it's looking good. It's obviously exciting to play with the boys and I think we will do well this season.”

Just how high can the Cobblers aim? In reality, promotion, either automatically or through the play-offs, can be the only goal given how last season unfolded.

Some impressive recruitment has also raised expectations ahead of Saturday’s season-opener against Colchester United at Sixfields.

McWilliams continued: "One of the gaffer's ideas is to have a target meeting where you sit down with all of the new lads and get together and you just talk about what you want to aim for.

"We had one in pre-season last year and we fell just short but we still have those targets and it’s in your hands so all you can do is go out there, perform and do your best.”