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    Ashley Williams is one of the best and most experienced defenders in the Premier League, but his performances for Everton and Wales so far this season have been underwhelming. A strong and bullish centre-back who is a leader at the back, Williams has been a shadow of his true self. True, the 33-year-old played well against Huddersfield Town in their recent 2-0 win at Goodison Park in the Premier League, but one swallow does not make a summer.

    The fact of the matter is that Williams is on the slide down. The Wales international was not exactly great for Everton last season, and now that he is 33, he has a precious few years left at the top level. Make no mistake, the former Swansea City star can still do a job in the Premier League, but it is hard to see him lead the Toffees to great honours in the coming years. Everton have grand plans of breaking into the Premier League top four and playing in the Champions League in the coming years, and Williams is unlikely to be the marshall at the back for long.

    It would make sense for Williams to retire from international duty with Wales and focus solely on his club career. Wales did brilliantly in the summer of 2016 when they reached the semi-finals of the European Championship in France, but failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia next summer has underlined the fact that they are simply not good enough to dine at the top table of world football on a regular basis..

    Despite having players such as Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey, it is hard to see how the Dragons are going to progress and qualify for major competitions in the coming years. Even Chris Coleman stepped down from the managerial role of the Wales national football team to take charge of a struggling Sunderland side who could well find themselves in League One next season; according to latest football betting odds, the Black Cats are 6/5 to get relegated from the Championship.

    Williams has played 76 times for Wales and has been a great servant to his country. The Everton star's performances in France during the Euro 2016 finals were brilliant, and there is never any doubt that he always gives his best on the football pitch. Perhaps it is now time for Williams to retire from international football. There is nothing more he can do for the Dragons that he has not already done.

    Given the fact that Williams is in his mid-30s, it is the perfect time for him to bow out of the international arena and concentrate on Everton. The Merseyside outfit are only just starting to show signs of recovering from a very bad start to the season, and there is still a lingering danger that they could be dragged to a relegation zone. The Welshman needs to focus on Everton, as he is a senior figure in the current team and will have to lead from the back.

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    Posted: Wednesday 6th December 2017
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