Socceroo Rhys Williams will almost certainly miss this year’s World Cup, with the defender needing surgery on his injured Achilles tendon.
The 25-year-old sustained the injury during Middlesbrough’s English Championship scoreless draw with Wigan at Riverside Stadium on Wednesday morning (AEDT).
A tearful Williams was treated on the pitch before being taken to hospital for further examination.
Middlesbrough confirmed on their official website the injury was serious and required surgery that will rule him out for the remainder of the season and in all likelihood Australia’s World Cup campaign beginning in June.
“He will visit a specialist in London this week and is likely to miss the rest of the season,” a statement read.
Williams, who has 14 caps for Australia, appeared a certain selection for the World Cup after featuring in the Socceroos’ friendly against Costa Rica in November.
It’s unfortunately a familiar situation for the West Australian, who missed the 2010 showpiece in South Africa with a serious pelvic injury.
Williams was reportedly on the verge of signing a multi-million dollar deal with English Premier League outfit Swansea City this week – a move now likely not to go ahead because of the injury.