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Teammate tips Socceroo McDonald to fire
By Ben Coonan
19:26 AEST Mon Aug 13 2012

Socceroo Rhys Williams has backed his teammate Scott McDonald to find his range for Australia after the misfiring marksman was selected in his first national squad in almost a year.

McDonald has been named in the squad for the international friendly on Thursday (AEST) against Scotland.

A regular goalscorer at club level - including a nine-goal haul for Middlesbrough last season - McDonald has failed to find the back of the net in Socceroo colours in 25 appearances.

However, Williams, who was recently handed the captain's armband for Middlesbrough's upcoming English Championship campaign, still believes the former Celtic striker has plenty to offer the national outfit.

"He's a brilliant player. I think once he gets that monkey off his back, I think he'll start putting them in the net all the time - he's that type of player," said Williams.

"I think he's a lot on confidence and that first goal, when it comes, will be massive for him and also the country.

"I just hope that he can get that goal, I know he's capable of it and he's such a good player that I'm surprised it hasn't come a lot sooner."

Part of a 20-man squad for the friendly at the Easter Road stadium in Edinburgh, McDonald first has to convince Socceroos coach Holger Osieck to give him a start in the country where he's done plenty of damage at club level - an impressive 51 goals from 88 appearances for The Hoops between 2007 and 2010.

McDonald and Williams are among a handful of Socceroos bound for the Scottish capital desperate to push their claim for a more permanent starting spot in the green and gold.

While McDonald has been in the wilderness, Williams has enjoyed semi-regular game time for the Socceroos.

Capped nine times and commonly regarded as one of Australia's outstanding prospects, the 24-year-old Williams hasn't had any game time this year for the Socceroos though and knows he must lift.

"Every game is massive. Hopefully I'll get some minutes (in Scotland). I missed out the last three games," Williams said.

"It's definitely important for the manager, he's brought in a couple of new players to have a look at and I think he might experiment a bit more.

"It's great to be called up again. I'll never take my spot for granted. I just need to keep going and I need to force my way back in the team.

"Jade (North) did brilliant in the last few games and he's missed out on these (through injury) so hopefully that will be the opening for me to hopefully show them what I can do again and get myself in contention for the big World Cup qualifiers."