Some five years have passed since Rhys Williams last played for Australia, but he is back having fought off the injuries that have significantly slowed his career.
So finding his way back to national level aged 30 was always going to be something of a milestone for the central-defender, who found his way back overseas with Saudi Arabian club Al Qadsiah.
Williams was called into Graham Arnold’s latest 24-player camp for the June international window, when the Socceroos will face regional rivals South Korea in Busan.
The game could bring with it a 15th cap for Williams, whose last outing in green and gold came back in 2014 against Costa Rica; Ange Postecoglou’s first match as manager.
Rotation and experimentation have both helped open the door for Williams back into the national team fold with regulars Trent Sainsbury, Milos Degenek and Mark Milligan rested.
“It was obviously difficult, I missed that first World Cup with an achilles injury and I tried to rush it to get back, but it wasn’t meant to be,” Williams said of his frustrations.
“Then I did it again, so there was two, two and a half years out injured, which is never nice but it’s good to be back here and good to be feeling good again and playing consistently for the last two, three years.”
The same can be said for Rhys’ brother Ryan, who is in line for a Socceroos debut. The winger – who had been courted by Wales – was also named in Arnold’s squad.
It is the first time Ryan has been selected for a Socceroos camp having settled at League One club Rotherham United, chalking up 81 appearances since joining them in 2017.
Rhys said sharing the field – sharing camp – with his younger brother as Socceroos would mark a memorable occasion.
“It’s good to see some new faces here, obviously my brother’s here as well and if he does make his debut, it will be a proud moment for me and my family,” he added.
“He made his senior professional debut against me, so it will be nice to see his senior international debut as well.
“It’s a good opportunity for people, the likes of me and Spira (Matthew Spiranovic) coming in a bit older, it’s a good opportunity for us to put our names in that window again.
“(I’m) over the moon (for Ryan). I’ve never been this close to him during football and to watch him train and hopefully make his debut as well, it’s a great opportunity for him.”
Rhys will also be reunited with former Melbourne Victory teammates Thomas Deng, Terry Antonis and Lawrence Thomas, where he spent a season from 2017 to 2018.
The Perth product’s former goalkeeper is his roommate, but Thomas quipped Williams may not necessarily be too pleased about it.
“I’m rooming with Rhysey (Williams) who was at Victory last year, and I’m very happy to be here,” he said.
“It’s a massive opportunity.
“I’m usually with the other goalkeepers … I’m more worried about myself because I usually snore a bit!”