From imposter syndrome to England captain: How George Williams found his voice

Drew Darbyshire
George Williams Warrington Wolves Alamy

George Williams celebrates a Warrington Wolves win in 2024

George Williams has been playing at the highest level for more than a decade now, and has had to overcome some obstacles to become the player he is today.

The 29-year-old is a key player on a long-term contract for Warrington Wolves and has represented England in the last two World Cups, even being appointed as captain of his country in 2023.

Although his incredible talent has never been doubted, he admits at the start of his career that he suffered from imposter syndrome and was quite reserved and shy. Wigan coach Shaun Wane would wax lyrical over Williams’ performances but there’d always be one thing he’d want more of from his star half-back: to find his voice and be more vocal.

“I think naturally I was pretty quiet but I think I had a bit of imposter syndrome to be honest when I was younger,” Williams told Love Rugby League.

“I’d grown up watching Lockers (Sean O’Loughlin), Faz (Liam Farrell), Sam Tomkins – they are five or six years older than me, so when I was 12 they were playing.

“It’s not that I didn’t think I was good enough, I just felt like I’d always let them talk as they were older and more senior, but I think it comes with a bit of maturity.

“I think leaving Wigan was big for me. I had some great leaders there looking back, some people to learn from like Lockers and Tommy Leuluai but when I went to Canberra I really found my voice and myself. I had to, to make myself a starter in the NRL, that’s what I had to do. I think I’ve just developed year on year and I’m 29 now, so I’m pretty old! It’s something that takes time.”

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How his time in the NRL brought George Williams out of his shell

George Williams Canberra Raiders Alamy
George Williams in action for Canberra Raiders in 2021

After winning two Super League Grand Finals and a World Club Challenge with Wigan, making 179 appearances for his hometown club, Williams made the brave decision to move out of his comfort zone, signing for Canberra Raiders over in Australia.

Williams impressed during his 18-month spell in the NRL, and found his voice thanks to some assistance from Canberra coach Ricky Stuart.

Williams added: “I had some phone calls with him previously and he (Stuart) asked what I wanted to work on, and I obviously brought that up (about being more vocal).

“It was obvious what I needed to work on and he worked with me really well and within six months I felt like I probably found my voice, probably less, so that was brilliant for my development.”

Williams returned to his English homeland in 2021, and has since made 65 appearances for Warrington, earning the England captaincy during that time.

Now, the Wigan-born half-back is seeing kids wearing his name and number on the back of their shirts, and Williams is hoping to help inspire the next generation of English rugby league players.

“I was that fan once so I always give my time, no matter where it is,” Williams said.

“It’s enjoyable, it’s good that some kids can look up to me now because I was that kid once. I think I’ll probably only properly appreciate it once I finish because I am right in the mix of it now, but I’m grateful for the journey I’ve been on so far.”

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