Rhys Williams (footballer)

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Rhys Williams
Rhys Williams.jpg
Williams playing for Middlesbrough in 2010
Personal information
Full name Rhys Williams[1]
Date of birth (1988-07-14) 14 July 1988 (age 28)[2]
Place of birth Perth, Australia
Height 1.87 m (6 ft 2 in)[2]
Playing position Defender / Midfielder
Club information
Current team
Perth Glory
Number 5
Youth career
ECU Joondalup
2005–2007 Middlesbrough
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2007–2016 Middlesbrough 126 (5)
2009 Burnley (loan) 16 (0)
2016 Charlton Athletic (loan) 3 (0)
2016– Perth Glory 0 (0)
National team
2007–2009 Wales U21 10 (1)
2009– Australia 14 (0)

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 4 January 2016.

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 10 January 2014

Rhys Williams (born 14 July 1988) is an Australian professional footballer who plays for Australian club Perth Glory and the Australia national team. A very versatile player, Williams is adept at playing as a centre back, defensive midfielder and right back but has played in virtually every out-field position at some point for Middlesbrough including more attacking roles.[3] In August 2012, Williams was made club captain of Middlesbrough.

Personal life[edit]

His mother originates from Mumbai, India while his father was born in Kent, England.[4]

His younger brothers, twins; Ryan Williams and Aryn Williams, are also footballers with Ryan at Barnsley and Aryn currently playing for Perth Glory in the Australian A-League [5] Williams is married.[6]

Club career[edit]

Middlesbrough[edit]

He began his football career as a school boy at Woodvale Secondary College by scholarship Rhys was 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.[7] Williams nearly joined semi-pro side Alvechurch, but the move collapsed over international clearance.[8]

He ultimately signed a three-year deal with Premier League club Middlesbrough, playing academy football.[4] In July 2007, he signed his first professional contract with the club, despite a number of injury setbacks which curtailed his football development.[9][10]

In the 2008–09 season, Williams was promoted to the first team after he was impressed in the pre-season.[11] In addition, Williams was given thirty-nine shirt.[12] Williams appeared in the first team for the first team when he appeared as an unused substitute bench.[13] However, Williams suffered injury while on duty with Wales U21 after damaging lateral ligament that required a surgery to repair and was sidelined by the end of 2008.

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.[14][15] On 26 September 2009, Williams scored his first goal for Middlesbrough in a 2–2 draw against Coventry City.[16] Then on 26 December 2009, Williams scored his second goal for Middlesbrough in a 3–0 win over Scunthorpe United.[17] However, Williams suffered a pelvic problem that kept him out for months.[18] While on the sidelined, it was announced on 11 February 2010 that Williams signed a three-and-a-half-year contract extension with Middlesbrough.[19] Williams then made his first team return on 6 March 2010, where he came on as a substitute for Willo Flood in the 52nd minutes, in a 1–0 loss against Cardiff City.[20] Two weeks later on 16 March 2010, Williams received a red card after a second bookable offence, in a 2–2 draw against Derby County.[21] Williams later finished the 2009–10 season, scoring two times in thirty–two appearance and was awarded Young Player of the Year.[22]

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.[23][24] After returning to training and playing in the reserve twice,[25] Williams made his first Middlesbrough appearance of the season on 5 March 2011, where he played 30 minutes after coming on as a substitute, in a 5–2 loss against Reading.[26] Four weeks later on 2 April 2011, Williams scored his first goal of the season, in a 3–3 draw against Leicester City.[27] 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.[28]

In the 2011–12 season, Williams started the season well when he scored in the opening game of the season, in a 2–2 draw against Portsmouth and also during the match, Williams played against his younger brother, Ryan.[29] After returning from an injury,[30] Williams scored on his return, in a 2–2 draw against Derby County on 21 October 2011.[31] For his performance, Williams was named Team of the Week.[32] 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,[33] Newcastle United,[34] West Bromwich Albion[35] and Liverpool.[36] Despite speculation of a summer move, Williams penned a new four-year contract with the club, keeping him at the Riverside until 2016.[37] Despite injury towards the end of the season,[38] Williams went on to make thirty–five appearance for the club.

In the 2012–13 season, 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.[39] Williams captained his first league match at Middlesbrough in the opening game of the season, in a 1–1 draw against Barnsley.[40] 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.[41] After returning to training,[42] Williams made his first team return against Blackburn Rovers on 26 December 2012 and played 45 minutes, which saw Middlesbrough won 1–0.[43] Since making his return towards the end of the season, Williams regained his first team and captaincy, as he made twenty-three appearance.[44]

For the 2013–14 season, Williams’ squad number was changed from 14 to 4 previously worn by George Friend who changed to 3.[45] William also regained his captaincy and started in the first team at the start of the season until he received a straight red card in a late minutes, in a 3–3 draw against Bournemouth on 21 September 2013.[46] Williams returned to the first team after serving a suspension and playing out in defence position until he tore his achille tendon against Wigan Athletic that kept him out for the 2013–14 season.[47]

In the 2014–15 season, Williams saw his squad number switched from 4 to 25.[48] While rehabilitating his Achilles tendon, Williams was expected to recover in time for the start of the season.[49] However, his return was delayed until the end of 2014.[50] After returning to training in December,[51] Williams’ first appearance of the season came on 26 December 2014, where he came on as a late substitute, in a 3–0 win over Nottingham Forest.[52] Williams then made his first start of the season in the third round of the FA Cup against Barnsley, but suffered an injury and was substituted after playing for five minutes.[53] After the match, it was announced that Williams would be out for the rest of the season.[54]

In the 2015–16 season, Williams, once again, switched numbers from 25 to 14.[55] Williams find himself left out of the first team by Manager Aitor Karanka upon returning to training.[56][57] As a result, Williams was sent to play in the reserve and played his first match against Reading U21, which saw Middlesbrough U21 won 3–2.[58] After the match, his return was praised by U21 Manager Graeme Lee on his attitude and performance.[59] Williams made more appearance for Middlesbrough U21, including being captain against Chelsea U21.[60] After returning from a loan spell at Charlton Athletic, Williams suffered a suspected cheekbone fractured during a match against Sunderland U21 and never played again.[61]

At the end of the 2015–16 season, Williams was released by Middlesbrough despite signing for Perth Glory, ending his eleven years association with the club.[62] Upon leaving the club, Williams thanked the club and the fans and said the Premier League promotion was a perfect ending despite not getting a medal.[63]

Loan Spells[edit]

On 30 January 2009, he signed a new two-year contract at Middlesbrough and signed on loan for Championship side Burnley on the same day.[64] Williams made his Burnley debut the next day, playing 90 minutes, in a 2–1 win over Charlton Athletic.[65] Williams then provided an assist for Martin Paterson to score the only goal in the game, in a 1–0 win over Sheffield United on 20 April 2009.[66] 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.[67]

On 2 January 2016, Williams was loaned to Charlton Athletic, initially for 28 days.[68] He made his debut for the Addicks in a 1–1 draw with Nottingham Forest, coming on as a substitute for Vaz Te with around 10 minutes remaining.[69] On 1 February 2016, Williams returned to Middlesbrough.[70]

Perth Glory[edit]

On 20 April 2016, it was announced that Williams would return to Australia to join Perth Glory in the A-League for the 2016–17 A-League season.[71]

International career[edit]

Being of mixed parentage, Williams was in an unusual position as he was eligible to represent Australia, England, India, and Wales.[4]< 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.[72][73] He was also called up to the senior Wales squad.[74]

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.[75] On 17 June 2009, he made his full Australian debut in a World Cup qualifier against Japan at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.[76]

In May 2010 Williams was included in Australia's preliminary squad for the World Cup,[77] however he was not included in the final squad due to an injury sustained while playing for his club.[78] Australia then Manager Pim Verbeek accused Middlesbrough for causing Williams’ injury.[79]

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.[80] Williams played as a centre back in a friendly against France on 11 October 2013.[81]

Career statistics[edit]

Club[edit]

As of 21 September 2016 [82]
Club statistics
Club Season League National Cup League Cup Other Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Middlesbrough 2008–09 Premier League 1 0 1 0
2009–10 Championship 32 2 1 0 1 0 34 2
2011–12 12 1 12 1
2011–12 35 2 3 0 2 0 40 2
2012–13 23 0 3 0 2 0 28 0
2013–14 22 0 1 0 1 0 24 0
2014–15 1 0 1 0 2 0
2015–16 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Middlesbrough total 126 5 9 0 6 0 0 0 141 5
Burnley (loan) 2008–09 Championship 16 0 16 0
Charlton Athletic (loan) 2015–16 Championship 3 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 4 0
Perth Glory 2016–17 A-League 0 0 2 0 2 0
Career total 145 5 12 0 6 0 0 0 163 5

International[edit]

As of match played 19 November 2013.[83]
International statistics
National team Year Apps Goals
Australia 2009 3 0
2011 6 0
2012 1 0
2013 4 0
Total 14 0

References[edit]

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  82. ^ Rhys Williams profile at Soccerway
  83. ^ "Rhys Williams". National Football Teams. Retrieved 20 June 2014. 

External links[edit]