Australia coach Pim Verbeek has blasted Middlesbrough manager Gordon Strachan over his treatment of injured Socceroo Rhys Williams during the season.
The 21-year old defender/midfielder was forced to play during Boro’s season in the English Championship last term despite the fact he had ongoing groin issues and after Verbeek was obliged to cut him from the final World Cup squad yesterday because of that injury, he blamed Strachan for his mismanagement of Williams.
“Rhys has always been in my mind for the final 23,'' Verbeek said.
"He's a player who every team can use , he can play in several positions ... but it's too big a risk to put him in the 23.
"He's not free to play 100 per cent. At this moment he has to play full with the team and he can't.
"I think Gordon Strachan let him play with an injury and Gordon Strachan let him play with injections every day. If you do that with a 20-year-old player, I think you take a risk.
"So I'm 100 per cent sure that should they have given him the normal treatment for an injured player that he should be in the World Cup.''
But Strachan hit back at Verbeek on the club’s official website, saying the Dutchman should check his facts.
"I know it's a stressful time for him (Verbeek) but he needs to get his facts right,” the former Celtic boss said.
"Decisions over injuries are made by the club's medical staff, not me, but it is nonsense to suggest Rhys was receiving injections for every game.
"We were always conscious of the World Cup and the fact that Rhys would want to be involved. We gave him every opportunity to recover from his injury in mid-season.
"The truth of the matter is we only ever did what we believed was right for the player's long-term future and he only played when he and our medical team agreed he was fit to do so.
"We were advised by a consultant in mid-season that he needed four or five weeks' rest. We actually gave him 10 as he didn't play between December and March.
"He only ever had two injections into the problem area, both of which were taken on the advice of a surgeon for the player's long-term benefit. On each occasion, he was given adequate rest afterwards.
"We were always conscious of the World Cup and the fact that Rhys would want to be involved. We gave him every opportunity to recover from his injury in mid-season. After that, each time Rhys played it was because he himself was happy to play.”