Williams aiming to make mark
Derrick Williams is hoping for further international recognition with the Republic of Ireland U21s after fulfilling his Premier League dream.
The Germany-born 20-year-old is in line to win his second cap for the Republic Under-21 side in their friendly against Holland U21s at Tallaght Stadium on Wednesday afternoon (kick-off 1pm).
He would do so having had his first taste of top-flight football in England, after being handed a debut as a substitute in Aston Villa's 1-1 Premier League draw at QPR on December 1.
Williams was thrown in at the deep end by manager Paul Lambert and has had to wait patiently for another chance since, but the experience has simply whetted his appetite.
He said: "It was great to get my debut with Villa. When I was younger, I thought that all I wanted to do was to play in the Premier League even once, but now I have played there, I know I want more.
"I will only be happy now when I get 50 games in the Premier League.
"One appearance in the best league in the world is a good achievement. I think only a few players from Waterford have done it, like John O'Shea, the two Hunts [Stephen and Noel] and Daryl Murphy, and it is a big weight off my shoulders.
"But now I have a taste for it, I want more."
Villa's current plight may mean Williams has to wait but, in the meantime, he is looking too make an impression for his country after winning his first cap in a 4-2 European Championship qualifier victory over Italy in September.
The experience was marred by the fact he was harshly sent off for a challenge on Genoa striker Ciro Immobile, but he is keen to continue on his learning curve.
He said: "I have learned a lot from the experience and I really want to do well with the Under-21s now."
The game will represent the start of manager Noel King's preparations for the new European Championship qualifying campaign, which gets under way in August.
Ireland have been handed a tough draw alongside 2009 winners Germany, Romania, Montenegro and the Faroe Islands in Group Six, after finishing third in their qualifying group for this summer's finals.