RHYS Williams will return at the heart of Middlesbrough’s defence for tomorrow’s home date with Blackpool after Tony Mowbray hailed his “Rolls Royce” star.
The Australia international cruised through the second half of the 1-0 Boxing Day win over Blackburn Rovers, a result which subsequently cost boss Henning Berg his job at Ewood Park.
Williams had not played since injuring ankle ligaments in August but Mowbray says it did not show.
“It was great to see Rhys Williams back after being out for four months,” said Mowbray.
“He’s only had a week’s training and has played 60 minutes of a youth team training game.
“I didn’t have any thoughts of putting him in the 18 but I changed my mind at the death.
“I picked the team at one o’clock to see who was fit - because we’ve had some injuries and a flu bug going round - and thankfully I did (put him on the bench), or you would have seen Nicky Bailey playing centre-half in the second half.”
Mowbray went on: “Rhys brings great versatility and quality to our squad and he’s going to be like a new player for us coming back for the second half of the season.
“It was a good thing for him to get 45 minutes under his belt. Rhys never seems to over-exert himself.
“He has great quality and I’ve said in the past that he’s like a Rolls Royce.
“We can use him in so many positions so it’s like more than one player coming back because he’s three players in one.”