Williamson has been in excellent form this season
Since signing for Newcastle United in 2010, Mike Williamson hasn't had the most straightforward of times as a Magpie. Often criticised for being sub-standard, the 6’4” centre-back is now enjoying his best period of recognition at Newcastle, as his side continues their impressive rise up the Premier League table.
Williamson started the season way down the pecking order at Newcastle. Fabricio Coloccini, Steven Taylor and Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa were all ahead of the 30-year-old as Alan Pardew tried to find his best defensive partnership.
However, after Yanga-Mbiwa failed to adjust to Premier League life and Taylor succumbed to injury, Williamson got his chance when his manager turned to him at half-time against Everton. His first appearance of the season came when Newcastle were 3-0 down against the Toffees and a solid performance gave the Magpies the platform on which to win the second half 2-0.
From then on, Williamson hasn't missed a minute of Premier League action for Newcastle. Pardew has continued to stick with the Englishman at the heart of his defence, even when all his options were once again available.
Williamson was chosen ahead of in-form Yanga-Mbiwa and fit-again Taylor this past weekend and Pardew’s decision paid dividends. As the Baggies went in search of a late equaliser, Williamson stood tall at the heart of the Newcastle defence and repelled everything Steve Clarke’s side could muster. Blocks, headed clearances and tight marking also kept Shane Long quiet, which is no mean feat in recent weeks.
The giant centre-back has certainly became one of Newcastle’s most valuable players of late and now has the chance to recreate his partnership with Coloccini. The two were at the heart of Newcastle’s defence in the famed 2011-12 season in which the Magpies finished fifth and qualified for the Europa League.
Pardew has already proved that he is prepared to stick with Williamson if his fine performances continue, so the assurance is already there for the former Portsmouth man. Yanga-Mbiwa's fine form of late could potentially cause problems for Williamson's selection but for now, Pardew is happy with his current partnership.
As Newcastle push for European qualification with their Frenchmen grabbing all the headlines, the Geordies may have a less obvious hero in their ranks.