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Reading's Danny Williams eager for international return

The American midfielder is hoping that his recent performances will have caught the attention of US national team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann.

Having finally put a series of knee injuries behind him, Reading midfielder Danny Williams has told American Soccer Now of his ambition to earn a US national team recall.

Williams, 26, joined Reading from Hoffenheim in June 2013 and earned 32 total appearances during his first season with the Championship club, adding three goals and two assists, while receiving impressive reviews for his performances.

The 13-times capped international was unable to make a full contribution to the club’s promotion push, however, after injuring his knee in the USA’s 1-0 win over Ukraine last March, as the Royals fell just one point short of the final play-off spot.

Missing out on a place in Jurgen Klinsmann’s World Cup squad as a result, Williams then suffered a further setback during preseason when the was forced to go under the knife for the second time in five months after the knee flared up again, with the operation keeping him out of action for the first 14 league games of the campaign.

Reading’s hopes of a Premier League return had all but vanished at the time of his comeback in November, but the holding midfielder himself has still been able to take some positives from the season so far, having featured in all but one of their matches since making it back to the pitch.

In addition, a place in next month’s FA Cup semi-final against holders Arsenal also awaits if they can manage to beat Bradford City in their sixth-round replay at the Madjeski Stadium, and Williams is hoping such a high-profile fixture will help him get back in Klinsmann’s plans.

“Obviously I am eager to get back to the national team,” he said. “I am desperate to do it because like I always said, when I am fit and healthy, I think I can give a lot to the team.

“When I first played for that team, it was just over three years ago. I was younger. I think I’ve developed a lot as a player and I would love to show Klinsmann what it meant for me to step outside of my comfort zone and develop away from home.

"I’ve gotten a lot stronger mentally as well—not only physically. Who thought we were going to make it to the [FA Cup] quarter-finals and would be one win away from Wembley after this disappointing season?”

Reading sit 16th in the Championship table with 10 games left, 18 points off sixth-placed Brentford, but, with new boss Steve Clarke replacing Nigel Adkins in December, Williams believes the foundations are in place for a promotion campaign next season.

“We all know that when everyone is fit, we have a squad that can fight for promotion,” he added. “Almost everyone is an international player with experience. We have very good players and it was a bit unfortunate to have so many injuries.

“With the new manager, he was under Mourinho for five years. He experienced Liverpool and West Bromwich. He has a lot of experience and he’s a great manager. When he get what he wants in the summer for the transfer window and decides what he wants to do, I think he wants us to go up as soon as possible.”

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