McWilliams wants more of the same after his best season yet with the Cobblers

Midfielder finally kept himself injury-free

Thursday, 8th July 2021, 11:07 am
Updated Thursday, 8th July 2021, 11:08 am
Shaun McWilliams.

Shaun McWilliams was one of few players to emerge from last season with credit still in the bank.

The 22-year-old homegrown midfielder finally kept himself out of the treatment room and on the pitch, racking up both more games (36) and more starts (33) than any other season.

He started every game but one under Jon Brady and was the heartbeat of Town's midfield, making the decision to extend his contract in the summer a no-brainer.

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"Last season was my first season injury-free which allowed me to play more games and grow in confidence and I want to continue that now," said McWilliams.

"I still think I can do more and play better but I just want to carry that on and make sure I'm available every week and playing plenty of games for the team."

McWilliams missed pre-season 12 months ago due to a serious knee injury picked up the previous Christmas, but there are no such problems this time around.

He added: "The off-season always goes quickly! You have the six weeks off and before you know it, you're back in and training again.

"Pre-season is always tough and it's good to get the first week or so and all the testing and running out the way, but I think we feel fit and the team's looking strong.

"The game's are coming now so it's about getting on the pitch, getting some minutes in the leg and gelling with the new boys."

Despite his tender age, McWilliams is now one of the more senior men at the club. Only Sam Hoskins (244) has more appearances for the Cobblers than the academy graduate (115).

"I'm getting a bit older now and taking on a bit more responsibility and having different conversations than maybe I would have done a few years ago," he continued.

"I think I've played enough games now to maybe have a bit more of a say and show the new boys that I'm here and I play for this team and welcome them into the group.

"There has been a reshuffle in players and coaches and there's a lot of new faces around the place but that's nothing new in football.

"We've welcomed everyone in and it hasn't taken long for the new lads to come out of their shell and showing us what they can do."

After a couple of weeks training, Town begin their pre-season schedule at Sileby this weekend.

McWilliams added: "You can do anything you want on the training pitch, nothing compares to playing games and getting match fit so having plenty of friendlies on Saturdays and Tuesdays will benefit us.

"It's nice for the gaffer as well because it gives him more opportunity to play different players and different styles and means we can hit the ground running."