Will Power Driving Joe

A year ago, Joe Williams limped away from the Recreational Ground at Aldershot with an injury that would keep him sidelined for the best part of five months.

This Friday the midfielder returns to the same venue with the opportunity to help win the Premier League 2 title for Everton Under-23s.

Victory over Chelsea will see the young Blues crowned champions and cap a positive conclusion to what has been one of the toughest years of Williams’ career to date.

His knee injury, which required surgery, kept him sidelined until late September and, shortly after making his comeback in November, he suffered another knock, this time to his ankle.

The youngster, who finally returned in February, told evertontv: “It’s been a hard year and I’m going back to where it started on Friday - it was at Chelsea where I hurt my knee.

“Obviously I came back and then I got another little problem. It’s been hard mentally but I feel I’ve come back stronger because of it.

“The coaches and physios have been great with me and they’ve got me fit and strong. I’ve come back and was a bit rusty at first - Unsy was winding me up saying I couldn’t score any more!

“But I’m getting into the swing of things now, my form is coming back and I’m already looking forward to next season.”

Fortunes have certainly taken an upturn since the 20-year-old was rewarded with a new three-year contract two months ago.

He’s featured regularly for the Under-23s since regaining his fitness and was called up to the first team for the recent Premier League matches against Manchester United and Leicester City.

Williams’ attention is now back with David Unsworth’s squad and should the young Blues wrap up the title on Friday, he knows it will make for an enjoyable mini-derby against rivals Liverpool on the final matchnight of the season on Monday 8 May.

Everton travel to Chelsea on Friday five points ahead of second-placed Manchester City and with a favourable goal difference.

“There’s been a lot of work on shape and everyone knowing their roles this week,” Williams added. “Unsy has had us well-drilled all season and there’s been a lot of thought going into this game.

“I see it as us wanting to win on Friday. We’ve got a better goal difference than Manchester City but you don’t want it to go down to that. You want to win it by as many points as you possibly can. All we know is that a win on Friday gets us the league and that’s exactly what we are trying to do.

“Chelsea are always a good team on the ball but so are we. We are top of the league for a reason - because we’ve showed we are the best team so far. We want to prove that on Friday and do our best.”