While Gareth Bale has been the hero and the talisman of Welsh football for the last few years, Ashley Williams is as much a legend in the eyes of supporters.
Therefore, the centre-back’s crucial mistake in Wales’ 1-0 home defeat to the Republic of Ireland on Tuesday, a mistake that ended Chris Coleman’s sides hopes of a first World Cup since 1958, was a truly heartbreaking moment.
Williams gave possession away when attempting to play out from the back and, a few agonising seconds later, the ball nestled in the corner of the Wales net via a superb strike from James McClean.
Though Everton fans will tell you that such a glaring error would not have come as a surprise. Williams, one of the Premier League’s finest defenders at Swansea City and a player who cost £12 million only a year ago (Sky Sports), has declined astonishingly in the last few months.
His performances for the Goodison Park club have become increasingly erratic – to the point where supporters are begging for Ronald Koeman to remove the veteran defender from the firing line.
And another high-profile mistake certainly does not do Williams’ reputation any good with the longevity of the 33-year-old now in serious doubt.
Ashley Williams has now become terrible for Wales as well. What an awful season he is having. #EFC— Kenny Jarvis (@KennyJarvisEFC) October 9, 2017
Only 3— Richard (@richmul84) October 10, 2017
If Everton persist with Ashley Williams this weekend after this performance, Ronald Koeman can have no complaints about any backlash #EFC— Richard Buxton (@RichardBuxton_) October 9, 2017
Absolute muck. It's evident that he's simply not good enough any more and has declined over the last 2 years.— Rich Leech (@RMLLCC) October 9, 2017
Dito muchly. Just not good enough anymore and it's glaring. #EFC— Nick Galer (@NickGaler) October 9, 2017
Williams lack of reaction tonight, and he's shown the same for #EFC this season, suggests he knows his legs have gone. Astonishing descent— Ell Bretland (@EllBretland) October 9, 2017
Koeman has a big chance to take positive action and show good management by dropping Williams. Seems an obvious change but will he...? #EFC— Ell Bretland (@EllBretland) October 9, 2017