MIKE Williamson faced everything the lower leagues had to throw at him as he underwent his football education.
And the defender isn’t fazed by the challenge of stopping Luis Suarez after coming through the school of hard knocks.
Newcastle United face Liverpool at Anfield tomorrow looking for their first Premier League win at the stadium since 1994.
If the club is to end their dismal run, Williamson and his defensive colleagues will need to keep Suarez in check.
The striker has again made the headlines for the wrong reasons, but his ability and workrate, isn’t in question.
“He’s a fantastic player,” said Williamson who started out at Torquay United before making his name at Wycombe Wanderers.
“There has been a lot of media coverage about him, but that takes nothing away from him.
“He’s a handful and works so hard for the team.
“When you’ve got ability and workrate, it’s a recipe for a tough day.
“[Manager] Brendan Rodgers is trying to implement a style of football, like he did at Swansea.
“They all work incredibly hard. That makes it all the more difficult.”
“But I think we’ve defended very well, and with our backs against the wall, we can grind it out.
“The lads are looking forward to it.
“Testing yourself against the best players is something you look forward to, especially at a stadium like Anfield.
“It’s what you dream of as a lad.”
Williamson insists he and his team-mates are going to Anfield to win.
“Our aim’s to get the three points every game,” said Williamson, who hopes to keep his place alongside Fabricio Coloccini in the centre of Alan Pardew’s defence.
“There’s nothing behind it (the record). Obviously, Anfield is a very difficult place to go.
“That’s the reason we haven’t picked up result there.
“But we’ve come off the back of three points (against West Bromwich Albion). The lads felt they worked hard.
“We didn’t feel we played our best. We’ll take that work ethic, and hopefully pass the ball a bit better and try and get the three points.
“We know if we apply ourselves, we can get that momentum we had last season and beat anybody. The whole squad’s aware of that.
“It’s about sticking to what we’re good at.”