The young centre back was signed during a hectic deadline day last season which saw 4 other signings come in as well as Kambwala. Due to the price of £4 million, there was quite a bit of excitement about this as Willy came with quite the reputation. Unfortunately, we only got to see him once during the 2020/21 season due to an injury picked up in a friendly against salford shortly after his u18 debut.
Despite mainly playing mainly for Ligue 2 Sochaux’s u19’s, there is plenty of footage of him at just 15 dominating a much older age group. In clips available on YouTube, Kambwala was often the tallest on the pitch and seemed to be the perfect modern day centre back. It’s not uncommon these days to see defenders bring the ball out of defence and distribute it as if they are a central midfielder but Willy seems to have a natural talent for defending. Whether it is making sharp covering runs for fellow defenders or flying into 50 50’s, he seems to have it all. I hate to say it but he resembles a certain Virgil van Dijk.
It’s easy to make a player look better than they are on YouTube but he more than backed it up in his lone u18 game of the season against Derby. Not only did he dominate on the ground but he was aerially impeccable as he won headers with ease defending and attacking from corners. Despite all of these physical and technical attributes, what excited me most was his anticipation of where the attackers were going to be or what they were going to do. United currently have a few promising centre backs coming through in Teden Mengi, Will Fish and Di’shon Bernard, however, the once common con in their game is they can be caught out of position on occasion. This did not seem to be the case with Kambwala.
Possibly the most impressive fact about him is that he had captained France u17’s when he himself was an u16. Obviously, he has shown a high level of leadership to go along with his immense quality as it is no secret how stacked France are at pretty much every level. Despite all of this, many have let his name slip their mind when thinking of United’s biggest talents due to the time out injured but it would be a mistake to do so. Willy will likely begin the season with the u18’s as he proves his fitness and further proves his ability and I have no doubt should he stay fit that he’ll be in the u23’s very quickly and possibly a senior debut much like Fish last season.