Williams all but rules himself out of Asian Cup

Socceroo Rhys Williams has all but ruled himself out of the Asian Cup despite making a successful return from long-term injury on Monday night.

Williams played for the first time in 11 months when he suited up for 66 minutes for Middlesbrough’s Under-21s on Monday, having suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon in January.

The injury-cursed 26-year-old defender was last week named in Socceroos boss Ange Postecoglou’s provisional 46-man Asian Cup squad despite having not played since sustaining the injury.

However, Williams told SEN on Tuesday night that he wasn’t ready to play at the Asian Cup.

“I could nearly rule myself out,” Williams said.

“I feel like I need some time, I need to get back into the team here before I consider playing for my country again.

“After such a long injury it wouldn’t be fair playing for my country when I’ve not played a competitive game.”

Williams offers Postecoglou versatility in defence, given he can play centrally and as a full-back, while he can also perform in midfield.

“I’ve played no competitive football for the first team and there’s a lot of players ahead of me who are playing week-in week-out and performing well,” Williams added.

“I don’t have my hopes up but you never know."

Williams returned to full Middlesbrough training last week, but still appears a few weeks away from returning to the first team which is currently pushing for promotion.

 “The team are doing so well and having been out for so long it’d be a risk for the manager to put me in,” Williams said.

“In saying that there’s a lot of games over the Christmas period.”

The Perth-born talent has missed both the 2014 and 2010 World Cups due to injury. Williams missed out in South Africa due to a serious pelvic problem.