On the eve of his return to the Socceroos ahead of the World Cup qualifiers against Iraq and UAE later this month, Perth Glory’s utility Rhys Williams gives an open and honest account on his return to full-time soccer.
This weekend the 28-year old will join 22 players for a Socceroos camp in preparation for two important “Russia 2018” World Cup qualifiers- an away match against Iraq and a home clash against the United Arab Emirates, later this month.
Williams admits his inclusion in the initial squad of 30 and now the final 23 for the next two qualifiers comes as a total shock.
“I’m not gonna lie, I feel really surprised” he told PG online.
“I feel there are a lot of good players around the world, who’ve done really well. It’s a surprise but really grateful to Ange (Postecoglou- Socceroos coach) for showing his faith”.
It’s been a frustrating and heartbreaking three years for Williams, who despite his previous 14 caps for the Socceroos, injury has forced him to miss out on two World Cup campaigns.
“I and my family are quite emotional. The turn-around from my injuries to get back to my home town club and now in the Socceroos….I thought it was over and I certainly didn’t expect it as soon as it came” he confided to PG online .
Williams has been a revelation in the past month for Perth Glory, earning praise from football aficionados and commentators across the country.
After spending the past 11-years in the UK crafting his career, Williams said coming back to Perth and playing in the Hyundai A-League was tougher than what he expected.
“Yes with all due respect. I didn’t know what to expect it took me by surprise. It’s definitely one of the fittest leagues in the world.
“I can understand why it does take people longer to adjust…I’m still not hitting my best football yet and hopefully that’s still to come.
His inclusion in the Socceroos squad of 23 means Williams will miss the big match against table-toppers Sydney FC on March 26 at nib Stadium, a fixture he said he would have loved to have played.
“I always like to play against the big teams ...they’re they teams you want to play.”
For tickets to the Perth Glory vs Sydney FC match click HERE
2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers - Match Details
Iraq v Caltex Socceroos
Thursday 23 March
PAS Stadium, Tehran (Iran)
Kick off 4.30pm (11pm AEDT)
Caltex Socceroos vs United Arab Emirates
Tuesday 28 March 2017
Sydney Football Stadium
Both matches will be broadcast LIVE on Fox Sports and the Nine Network.
TICKET DETAILS (Sydney match)
For more information regarding ticketing please visit www.socceroos.com.au/tickets