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Rhys Williams (footballer)

 

Rhys Williams (footballer)

Rhys Williams
Australia11(0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 18:40, 3 May 2012 (UTC).

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 16 August 2012

Rhys Williams (born 14 July 1988) is an Australian professional soccer player currently playing for Middlesbrough in the English Football League Championship and the Australia national football team. A very versatile player, Williams is adept at playing as a central defender, defensive midfielder and right back but has played in virtually every out-field position at some point for Middlesbrough including more attacking roles.[1] In August 2012, Williams was made club captain.

Background

His mother originates from Mumbai, India while his father was born in Kent, England.[2]

His younger brothers, twins; Ryan Williams and Aryn Williams, are also footballers and are currently players at Fulham and Burnley, respectively.

Club career

He began his football career as a promising junior with Perth based club ECU Joondalup. As a youth player, 2004 would prove his breakthrough year with his club performances leading to selection in the Western Australian under-16 state representative squad for the 2004 National Talent Identification Championships. He impressed with three goals in the tournament, helping Western Australia reach the semi-finals. At the conclusion of the event, he travelled to England where he trialled with several clubs including Aston Villa, Leicester City, and Middlesbrough.[3]

He ultimately signed a three-year deal with Premier League club Middlesbrough, playing academy football. In July 2007, he signed his first professional contract with the club, despite a number of injury setbacks which curtailed his football development.

In January 2009, he signed a new two-year contract at Middlesbrough and signed on loan for Championship side Burnley on the same day.[4] He returned to Middlesbrough in early May after it was determined that he could not play in the Football League Championship play-offs for Burnley.[5]

After fantastic preseason form for Middlesbrough before the 2009–10 season where he scored 4 goals in 5 games, manager Gareth Southgate showed faith in Williams by playing him in central midfield in their opening Championship match against Sheffield United where he put in a stellar performance and has since gone on to keep his place in the first XI.[6]

On 26 September 2009, Williams scored his first goal for Middlesbrough in a 2–2 draw against Coventry City.[7]

On 11 February 2010, Williams signed a three-and-a-half-year contract extension with Middlesbrough.[8]

Williams missed most of the 2010–11 Middlesbrough season, and the 2010 World Cup with a persistent pelvic problem which saw him on an extensive rehabilitation period in Australia.[9] He made his eventual comeback to Middlesbrough towards the end of the 2010-11 League Championship season in which he earnt an impressive six man of the match awards in only twelve games aiding Middlesbrough in their best run of the season.[10]

Due to strong performances since his return from injury he was linked to several Premier League clubs in the lead up to the January 2012 transfer window including Bolton Wanderers,[11] Newcastle United,[12] West Bromwich Albion[13] and Liverpool.[14] Despite speculation of a summer move, Williams penned a new four-year contract with the club, keeping him at the Riverside until 2016.[15] Rhys has become a firm fan favourite at the Riverside Stadium under Tony Mowbray, which along with his eye-catching performances has earned him the Captain's armband on 9 August 2012.

Later in August Rhys suffered another injury blow. Unrelated to previous injuries, this time he suffered damage to his ankle ligaments which kept him on the sidelines for another four months until he made a late December 2012 return.[16] Since his return from injury he has so far been unable to regain his previous form for Middlesbrough and has struggled for game time despite remaining captain of the club.

For the 2013/14 season, Williams squad number was changed from 14 to 4 previously worn by George Friend who moved to 3.

International career

Being of mixed parentage, Williams was in an unusual position as he was eligible to represent Australia, England, India, and Wales. In May 2009, he opted to represent Australia, the country of his birth, despite having made numerous appearances for the Wales national under-21 football team.[17]

Following this declaration, Williams earned his first call-up for Australia at senior level as part of an extended Socceroos squad for the June 2009 World Cup qualifiers.[18]

On 17 June 2009, he made his full Australian debut in a World Cup qualifier against Japan at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

In May 2010 Williams was included in Australia's preliminary squad for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, however he was not included in the final squad due to an injury sustained while playing for his club.

Williams returned to the Socceroos squad for the friendly against New Zealand on 5 June at Adelaide Oval which was won by Australia 3–0 and he came off the bench in the 0–0 draw on June against Serbia at Etihad Stadium.

Williams played as a centre back in a friendly against France on 11 October 2013.

Club statistics

Statistics accurate as of 28 November 2011

Club Season Division League Cup Europe Total
Apps Goals Assists Apps Goals Assists Apps Goals Assists Apps Goals Assists
Burnley 2008–09 Championship 17 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 17 0 1
Burnley total 17 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 17 0 1
Middlesbrough 2008–09 Premier League 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0
2009–10 Championship 32 2 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 34 2 2
2010–11 Championship 12 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 12 1 1
2011–12 Championship 35 2 2 5 0 0 0 0 0 40 2 2
2012–13 Championship 21 0 0 5 0 0 0 0 0 26 0 0
Middlesbrough total 100 5 5 13 0 0 0 0 0 113 5 5
Career total 117 5 6 13 0 0 0 0 0 130 5 6

References

External links

  • Burnley FC Official Site profile
  • Profile on Middlesbrough F.C. official website
  • OzFootball profile
  • Soccerbase
  • FFA Profile
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