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Mowbray concerned by Williams´ absence

18 May 2012 09:45

Middlesbrough boss Tony Mowbray says it is not ideal that Australia's Rhys Williams will spend three weeks away on international duty.

Williams was selected in Australia's provisional 26-man squad for three June internationals.

The Socceroos will take part in a friendly against Denmark in Copenhagen on June 2, before playing World Cup qualifiers in Oman on June 8, and Brisbane on June 12, where they face Asian powerhouse Japan.

Mowbray confirmed the 24-year-old will not join the rest of the squad for pre-season training on July 5 as a result of his call-up.

Due to a serious ankle injury suffered against Leeds in March, Williams missed most of Boro's Championship run-in.

And with the club also managing his long-term pelvic condition, Mowbray would prefer if the Perth-born utility had an extended break from competitive football.

"It's not ideal," Mowbray told the Evening Gazette.

"Rhys has a long-term problem that we've been carefully managing for a good while.

"That said, these games are World Cup qualifiers, not meaningless friendlies, so there is something at stake for Australia.

"They'll be aiming to qualify for the next World Cup in 2014 and I'm sure Rhys will be keen to represent his country in that tournament so we can't stand in his way.

"It's also the price you pay for having good players, I guess you can't have it both ways.

"Rhys will have been keeping himself fit since the end of the season in readiness for the Australia games and will be away for the best part of a month.

"So we won't have had much of a break. With that in mind we'll give him an extra week or so to recharge his batteries and he'll come back after the other players."

Boro recently confirmed two pre-season friendlies, against Falkirk on July 22 and Scunthorpe United on August 8.

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