Williams handed prestigious award

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Swansea defender Ashley Williams is the surprise winner of the Wales footballer of the year award.

The 25-year-old, who only made his full international debut in March 2008, picked up the trophy on Wednesday night at the Football Association of Wales awards dinner at Cardiff City's new stadium.

He said: "Things have moved very quickly for me, and I am a little shocked. It is an honour to win such an award when you think exactly who has won it in the past."

Williams was playing non-league football at Hednesford six years ago, having been rejected by West Brom at 16. And he worked as a waiter and at Drayton Manor theme park in the Midlands while playing part-time football.

Then Stockport snapped him up and a £350,000 move to Swansea followed five years later.

But since his international debut in Luxembourg, he has missed just one of the last 18 Wales matches.

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Ashley Williams
West Bromwich Albion
Ashley Williams
Cardiff City
Swansea City

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