Middlesbrough defender Rhys Williams wants to ‘put a few wrongs right’ and grab a regular place with the Socceroos.
Williams has joined the Socceroos in Brasilia for their friendly against hosts Brazil on Saturday and believes it is a reward for his good early form this season with Middlesbrough in the Championship.
The 25-year-old defender, who is Middlesbrough’s captain, is back in the Australian national team, after missing the squad for the Socceroos’ three World Cup qualifiers in June.
Williams is thrilled to be back in the Socceroos fold and, having missed out on the 2010 World Cup in South Africa at the last minute due to a groin injury, he wants to build on his selection for this week’s friendly and make up for his disappointment three years ago.
“I don’t like to be known as the guy who missed the last World Cup through injury and hopefully if I can keep playing well and keep my spot in the team, I can put a few wrongs right this coming summer,” Williams said on Monday.
The versatile defender, who can also play at the base of midfield, has played every game for Middlesbrough so far this season.
It has been a welcome change for Williams to be fully fit, after he missed almost four months in the 2012/13 campaign with an ankle injury, and the Perth-born player cannot wait to impress Osieck in training and, potentially, against Brazil at the Estadio Nacional Mane Garrincha on Saturday.
“It’s nice to know the boss has been watching me because I’ve been playing quite well lately,” Williams said.
“It’s brilliant to be back and I always said I’d never take my spot for granted, so I’ll work harder than ever to keep my spot now.”
While Williams has set himself the goal of cracking a spot at Brazil 2014, 22-year-old striker Mitchell Duke, who has just three caps for Australia, is just happy to be involved with the Socceroos again.
Duke made his debut at the East Asian Cup in July and scored two goals during the tournament in South Korea and although the bustling striker, who plays for the Central Coast Mariners, does not have many expectations about playing against Brazil, he is enjoying every minute with the Socceroos.
“It’s going to be absolutely unreal even just being on the sidelines to watch the game,” Duke said.
“So I’ll soak up the experience anyway and if I get an opportunity it will be obviously, absolutely icing on the cake, really.”
While few expect much from the Socceroos against Brazil, who are ranked 35 spots above Australia by FIFA, Williams is convinced Osieck and his players can learn a lot this week.
“It’s obviously a great indication to see where we are, see where we’re at, see what we need to work on and it’s a great opportunity for the manager to try a few new things,” Williams said.
“We’re all looking forward to it and just can’t wait for Saturday now.”
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