YOUNG defender Rhys Williams has put pen to paper on a new two-and-a-half year deal with Middlesbrough, running until June 30 2011.

Williams, whose previous contract was due to expire this summer, has also agreed to a three-month loan deal with Championship side Burnley that will start immediately.

Born in Perth, Australia, 20-year-old Williams is versatile enough to play anywhere across the defence and can also operate as a holding midfielder.

He impressed for Boro during last summer's pre-season schedule, capping off several fine performances with a 25-yard goal in a 6-1 win over Sparta Rotterdam.

He made his first team debut as a substitute in last August's 5-1 Carling Cup victory over Yeovil.

Highly-regarded within the Wales set-up, Williams was called into John Toshack’s full Wales squad on the same day he made his Boro debut.

His progress was halted by a lateral ligament injury sustained while playing and scoring for Wales U-21s in a 3-0 victory over Romania in September.

However, having returned to full-fitness, Williams will now link up with Burnley until the end of April.