Socceroos finally come calling for Wales target Williams


Ryan Williams is set to win his first Socceroos cap against Korea Republic in June to all but end Wales’ hopes of luring the Perth-born attacker into their fold.

The Young Socceroo and Olyroo, who has made 37 appearances for Championship strugglers Rotherham United this season, was recently watched by Dragons coach Ryan Giggs along with teammate Will Vaulks, with the EURO 2020 qualifiers in mind.

Vaulks was subsequently called up for his Wales debut, whilst Williams, the younger brother of Socceroo Rhys, was not officially sounded out.

Whilst overlooked by Giggs for now, the 25-year-old - who is eligible for Wales through his lineage - has been on the radar of Socceroos coach Graham Arnold for some time.

And it’s understood that, after nine years in England with Portsmouth, Fulham, Oxford, Barnsley and now Rotherham his chance to stake a senior squad claim is finally close to fruition.

Williams has always expressed his preference for the green and gold, and has been waiting in the wings - quite literally courtesy of his wide role for Rotherham - for the chance to come.

Addressing the possible dilemma were Wales to come on strong, Williams made his feelings clear in an interview with The World Game last month.

“Australia is where I was brought up. The green and gold, I’ve always dreamed of playing for Australia,” he said.

“I think if I was to play for Wales it would just be because Bale and Ramsay are there, it would just feel like another team… but [on the other hand] the good thing would be you don’t have to travel as far as well, which can hinder you [with your club] sometimes.

“Obviously the dream was to play international football. We’ll just have to wait and see with who that is with.”

The Korea clash - likely to be played in Seoul on June 8 - has yet to be formally announced but is close to being ratified, with Australia to learn their opponents for the first phase of 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying later that month.

The clash will be Australia’s first since the AFC Asian Cup, where they bowed out at the quarter-final stage.

The campaign to qualify for Qatar 2022 begins in September, with the June friendly offering coach Graham Arnold the chance, should he wish, to have a look at several players who have been uncapped thus far, or simply on the fringes.

Williams offers pace and penetration on either wing, and with the likes of Daniel Arzani and Martin Boyle recovering from long-term injuries and Robbie Kruse out of favour and off contract at Bochum, he has important miles in his legs this season. He can also operate as a number ten.

Williams’ international hopes are on the up as Rotherham’s fortunes are on a downward spiral with a return straight back to League One on the cards.

The Millers are three points adrift of safety at the wrong end of the Championship with just two games left.

Their nearest quarry Millwall hold a three point buffer plus have a vital game in hand.

Off-contract Williams is likely to be on the move again if they go down, having proved himself a capable performer in English football’s second tier.