Homegrown talent Williams and McWilliams sign first professional contracts at Cobblers
Homegrown teenagers Jay Williams and Camron McWilliams have signed professional contracts with the Cobblers.
The Northampton-born pair have put pen to paper on 18-month deals at the PTS Academy Stadium, with the club having the option to extend both contracts by a further year.
Williams is 18 and McWilliams, the younger brother of first team regular Shaun, is just 17, and they were both part of Town’s successful EFL Youth Alliance southern area title-winning Under-18s team.
The pair have already made their first team debuts this season, with Williams making his first Football League start in the 2-1 New Year’s Day defeat at Forest Green Rovers.
They follow fellow academy graduates Shaun McWilliams, Joe Iaciofano, James Goff, Sean Whaler and Morgan Roberts into the Cobblers’ professional ranks.
A former Kingsthorpe College pupil, Williams joined the Cobblers at the age of 13 and has progressed through the club’s youth age-groups.
He was drafted into the Town squad for their pre-season training trip to Spain by then boss Dean Austin, and made his first team debut as a starter in the Checkatrade Trophy defeat to Wycombe Wanderers in September.
He has gone on to make six further first team appearances under the management of Curle, with four of them in Sky Bet League Two, and he has impressed the Town boss.
“Jay has deserved his contract with his performances not just in the first team games, but playing for the under 18s and in training too,” said the Cobblers manager.
“He is a very mature lad, he has captained the under 18 side this season and has fitted seamlessly in to the first team squad as well.
“Jay is very much home grown, and full credit must not only go to Jay, but to the academy and the coaches and staff involved in his development.”
McWilliams Jnr also joined the club as a 13-year-old, and he too featured in the Cobblers’ pre-season matches, but his progress was hindered after he suffered a broken bone in his foot.
He shrugged off that disappointment to regain full fitness and has set about helping the U18s to their title and FA Youth Cup successes, as well as making a mark on Curle.
McWilliams and his elder brother Shaun made history in November when they played together for the Cobblers in the Checkatrade Trophy win over Fulham U21s, becoming the first brothers to represent the club since the 1930s.
It now seems likely that won’t be the last time they don the claret and white togther, and Curle said: “Cam is a player who has really impressed us.
“He is aggressive and he is mobile and he can play in a number of different positions.
“He has looked at home in a first team environment and we think he is the sort of player who will continue to develop and flourish and we are delighted that both young players have committed their futures to the club.
“This is where the hard work starts for both of them, we believe they both have a lot of potential to keep improving.
“That will be their challenge, to do just that and to earn themselves a regular spot in the first team squad.”
And Curle went on to praise the work of the club’s academy coaches and staff, adding: “It is always good to see young players join the professional ranks, even more so given they have been with the club’s academy for a long time.
“Full credit must go to the club’s academy coaches and staff for the quality of player they are producing and they should be hugely proud of their work.
“The boys too should be proud of their progress so far, but there is a long way to go as they both fully understand.”