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Williams sets double target
RHYS WILLIAMS has set himself a double goal of gaining promotion with Middlesbrough and playing in the World Cup next summer - but would be delighted if only one paid off.
Australian international Williams was called up for the Socceroos’ 6-0 drubbing in Brazil last week, but did not get on the pitch in Brasilia.
But with the Australian defence in transition, Williams hopes he will be selected for the World Cup - and would dearly love to go there with a Middlesbrough promotion in the bag to boot.
“It would be amazing if just one of them happened to be honest,” said Williams, Middlesbrough’s skipper, who picked up an injury shortly before the World Cup in 2010 and missed the tournament in South Africa. “Not many players in their careers can say they've been to the World Cup, or that they had captained their side to the Premier League. For both to happen would be a dream come true. Dreams can turn into realities.
“I don't like to be known as the guy who missed the World Cup in 2010 through injury. That's what is always associated with me whenever you mention my name. I don't like that. I want to put things right now, it would be good to get into the squad and hopefully I can challenge for a start as well. What an opportunity it would be to get to Brazil and get involved.”
After spending last Saturday on the bench watching Neymar and David Luiz tear Australia apart, Williams is looking forward to getting back into the swing of Football League life, starting today with the visit to Portman Road to face Ipswich Town.
“I've been looking forward to get back playing in England, while I was training with Australia I was looking forward to coming back, training here and looking forward to the next game,” said Williams.
“We're all enjoying our football this year – I know we need to turn those draws into wins – but the way we're playing, the way the squad is settling in and bonding together is just a pleasure to be part of.
“A lot of that is down to how we're playing on the pitch, how we're going about things, training, we're just playing football that is really enjoyable and it's rubbing off in the changing room. A lot of the players who have been promoted from this league say that squad mentality is a big thing, we've got a good blend this year.
“I think we were a bit gutted the international break was there, we were just getting on to that front foot again, really unlucky. We haven't conceded in open play in four games, that's a nice little stat. The way the goals are going in are more from free-kicks and corners and one penalty, so the good thing is during open play teams are struggling to break us down which is a positive, yet we still need to score goals and create chances.”
The 25-year-old centre-half, who can also play midfield, was the subject of interest from Wigan Athletic in the transfer window, but Williams insists he knew very little of the speculation surrounding him.
He said: “I still honestly don't really know a lot. I know something popped up on the TV screen about a club and interest in me, but as far as I'm concerned I've still got three years left. I'm the captain of this club and I'm enjoying my football with this team, and with the manager we have, I think we have a real good chance.
“This league is here for the taking. You have QPR, Forest and Wigan and after that it's everyone else for their own. Even those three teams are there for the taking. People who watched us at Wigan, will have seen that we should have won. I feel that once we can stop leaking goals we can be a major threat.”
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