Conor Gallagher’s stay at Charlton Athletic was cut short this week – and Jonny Williams reckons the Chelsea midfielder’s loan spell turned him from a boy into a man.
The 19-year-old, pictured inset, was a major success in SE7 and his performances led to a promotion to England’s U21 squad.
A host of Championship sides were interested in taking Gallagher during this month’s transfer window.
It is thought that Chelsea were not pushing for a recall and that it was Gallagher’s representatives who wanted him to join a club that could be involved in the Championship promotion race.
“I’m gutted,” said Charlton attacker Williams. “Everyone knows how good a player he is and a lot of teams would miss him.
“It came as a bit of surprise when you saw how much he enjoyed playing for Charlton and being around this bunch of lads.
“It was probably the perfect dressing room for him to come into.
“He brought out the best in me. I sent him a message on Monday night saying ‘you’ve done so well – you walked through the door with no senior appearances and you are leaving us as a man’.
“It’s a credit to Bows [Lee Bowyer] for bringing him in and believing in him.
“I’ve had successful loans and not so successful loans. With the good ones you tend to look at the manager, because he has shown belief and given you game time.
“I’ll miss him but it’s football. These things happen and you move on.”