Rhys Williams - A star on the rise

Rhys Williams's name grabbed so many headlines in England throughout the year that he would have been impossible to leave out of the Qantas Socceroos squad.

Season 2011/12 in the Barclays Premier League and The Championship saw plenty of Qantas Socceroos hopefuls in action, but rather than a specific EPL player it might have been two of those plying their trade in The Championship who pushed their claims for national selection the furthest.

Rhys Williams showed further improvement for Middlesbrough in England-s second tier competition, dominating at the back and in the middle of the park for Borough throughout the year.

In the end it was arguably his absence throughout injury late in the season that cost his club the chance of a Playoff spot for the Premier League as Borough slumped to seventh and away from a chance at promotion.

As for Williams-s own season the fact he was courted heavily by EPL giants Liverpool and Newcastle United speaks volumes for his burgeoning talents, his decision to turn down an offer from the now relegated Bolton also showing he has some football smarts off the field.

While Williams missed promotion Adam Federici-s Reading gained it by finishing top of the league and sparking mass celebrations at the Madejski Stadium.

Most impressive in the team though was Federici who made an honest challenge to Mark Schwarzer-s status as Australia-s preferred number one.

Federici led the league in clean sheets with 20 from 45 games and also made 228 saves throughout that period. His goalkeeping rivals in England didn-t fare so well though.

Schwarzer suffered a nasty neck and back injury that took a chunk out of his season for Fulham, while Brad Jones played little football for a slumping Liverpool side, although when he finally did he saved a memorable penalty, before gesturing to the heavens in memory of his late son.

While Schwarzer-s season was far from stellar past deeds probably mean he keeps the Socceroos top job at the back and overall his season wasn-t too bad.

Fulham conceded 51 goals, which was equal ninth in the league and the same amount as high-flying Newcastle United, with Schwarzer-s 30 games resulting in 30 goals conceded, 102 saves made and 10 clean sheets. While Fulham finished in the top half of the table it was a watershed year for Tim Cahill-s Everton.

The Toffees finally topped their Merseyside rivals Liverpool, finishing above them on the ladder for the first time since the 04/05 season and Cahill played his part admirably, albeit at times in a different role, coming off the bench for David Moyes-s side.

Still Cahill showed he had the glass that sent him to the top of the EPL as a goalscorer and although he went through somewhat of a goal drought this season he continued to play an important role and will also do so for the Socceroos.

From the top of the table to the bottom and Chris Herd-s Aston Villa escaped the drop zone by the skin of their teeth, but Herd-s own form was a big reason why they did so.

Looking at the table the defence at Aston Villa wasn-t great but 53 goals conceded was far from the worst in the league, their attack however almost was 37 goals - just one more than Stoke-s 36 made them the second worst attacking side in the League, but for Herd-s part it was a successful season that has justifiably ended in Socceroos selection. 19 match starts and one goal were the key stats for Herd in what was a breakout season.

While all of those players starred it was a reasonably quiet year for Crystal Palace, but not so Mile Jedinak who made the fourth most appearances of any player for the club and was a driving influence in the middle of the park.

Jedinak may have picked up seven yellows for the season, but he also gave four goal assists, both ranked him second at the club and his Qantas Socceroos call up was the result of a very consistent season.

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