Hartlepool United midfielder Luke Williams responds to manager Craig Hignett's comments
Luke Williams felt the flattering comments from Hartlepool United manager Craig Hignett during his injury spell were ‘the best thing’ he could hear.
Williams’ injury troubles over the past year have been a source of much frustration for the player, manager and Pools fans.
But Hignett’s consistent reassurance that the 26-year-old will be ‘the best player in the National League’ once fully fit has only added to the expectation as the attacking-midfielder nears a return.
Williams came off the bench to score in an impressive cameo against Sheffield United under-23s 11 days ago but hasn’t featured since.
Hartlepool fans will have to remain patient with Williams as he’s still ‘some way off’ being back to his best but Hignett remains confident in the quality he will bring to the side.
“He’s got the best quality without a doubt, he should be playing higher,” said the Pools boss.
“If not for injuries he’s had over the last couple of seasons, he would be. Hopefully he’s on the right track now.”
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And Hignett’s praise is something Williams welcomes as he looks to manage the lofty expectations on his shoulders.
“It’s just about not getting ahead of yourself and managing it like we have done because the build-up has been great and nothing has been rushed,” added the former Scunthorpe United man.
“I think I’m going to see the benefits of it out there. When you’re injured, you’re always at a low point and managers always say things that you need to hear to keep you going and that’s what [Hignett] is great at.
“It’s always nice to hear and it does kick you on a little bit. You get a lot of banter off the lads for everything that’s getting said about you and you’ve got to live up to it and stuff.
“When it comes to the manager, he’s the one who’s picking the team and he’s the man in charge of you so I think that’s the best thing you can hear as a player.”
Saturday’s season opener against Sutton United (3pm kick-off) will come too soon for Williams to start though he could feature on the bench once again.