Crystal Palace have signed 19 year old Winger Randall Williams from London based non-league side Tower Hamlets.
Alan Pardew was impressed with the player during a behind-closed-doors friendly against Crawley Town. The teenager has earned a short term contract with the Eagles, with the opportunity for Palace to extend the contract at the end of the season.
The former Tottenham prospect is said to be delighted with the move, and is eager to improve.
“I just want to better myself and to go up nine leagues is a big step.”
The manager reportedly showed a direct interest in Williams, Pardew wanted to have a closer look at the Winger and bought him in to train with the first team.
The youngster seems to be displaying the right kind of attitude as he stated his intent.
“I like to drive at players, and I’m a quick dribbler. There’s areas that I need to work on but that’s why I’m here.”
This isn’t the first time Crystal Palace have acted quickly in snapping up players from non-league, and they seem to be maintaining a trend within the club.
The noble tradition has been underpinned as an important part of the clubs history by Pardew in recent weeks, putting emphasis on their knack for scouting non-league talent in a December press conference.
“We’re not going to forget our roots. Our roots are not signing players from PSG, some of our best came from non-league.
“Ian Wright, non-league player. Andy Gray, non-league player. Alan Pardew, non-league player. He wasn’t as good as the first two.”
Headlines were made last year when Palace bought in exiting young forward Keshi Anderson from Barton Rovers, with the club also considering a swoop for Hitchin Town’s Kane Smith.
The recent signing of Randall Williams should be an example for managers and scouting teams all over.
With previous non-league players such as Charlie Austin and Jamie Vardy making names for themselves, it should be a wakeup call for Premier League clubs to invest outside the top divisions.
(Images from BBC and myfootballfacts.com)