All of the confirmed January transfers for Welsh players

Here is a comprehensive list of the Welsh players that have new deals in January.

Date Name Club Fee
1st January 2019 Christian Doidge Forest Green Rovers from Bolton Wanderers Return from loan
1st January 2019 Lee Evans Wigan Athletic from Sheffield United Undisclosed (confirmation of transfer agreement from Summer)
3rd January 2019 Tom Bradshaw Millwall from Barnsley Undisclosed (confirmation of transfer agreement from Summer)
3rd January 2019 Aaron Lewis Doncaster Rovers from Swansea City Loan
4th January 2019 Jonny Williams Charlton Athletic from Crystal Palace Undisclosed
7th January 2019 Dave Edwards Shrewsbury Town from Reading Free
8th January 2019 Chris Maxwell Charlton Athletic from Preston North End Loan
11th January 2019 James Collins Ipswich Town Free
18th January 2019 Regan Poole Newport County from Manchester United Loan
22nd January 2019 Chris Mepham AFC Bournemouth from Brentford £12m
23rd January 2019 Mark Harris Port Vale from Cardiff City Loan
28th January 2019 Gethin Jones Mansfield from Fleetwood Town Loan
30th January 2019 Rabbi Matondo Schalke 04 from Manchester City £9.6m
31st January 2019 Sam Vokes Stoke City from Burnley Undisclosed
31st January 2019 Andy King Derby County from Leicester City Loan
31st January 2019 Danny Williams Cardiff City from Haverfordwest County Undisclosed
31st January 2019 Joe Ledley Free agent Free

Match report: Rep. of Ireland 0 – 1 Wales

Wales recorded their second victory in as many months against the Republic of Ireland in Dublin on Tuesday night.

Wales have only won three competitive games without Gareth Bale or Aaron Ramsey in twelve years, however a magnificent free kick from Harry Wilson ensured that Wales’ footballing future is most definitely in good hands.

The first chance of the game fell to Ireland, when Matt Smith slipped on the edge of the 18-yard box, following Giggs’ instruction of passing from the back. Cyrus Christie pounced on Smith’s mistake guided the ball towards Hennessey’s bottom left corner, forcing him into a good save in the opening ten minutes.

Ben Davies and Connor Roberts started to push high in attack, with Matt Smith or Joe Allen dropping into back four in their absence. Despite forcing Ireland to press high, Wales could not force an opening to hurt Ireland.

The first 30 minutes saw both teams cancelling each other out. Wales and Ireland enjoyed spells of possession but struggled to find a way to break each other down.

Ben Davies was booked on 32 minutes for a rash challenge on Harry Arter, meaning he will miss Wales’ final Nations League match against Denmark in November.

David Brooks was by far Wales’ brightest player in the first half; his quick feet and guided movement caused Ireland problems down the right side.

A low ball from Brooks into Tyler Roberts looked dangerous, but the forward couldn’t get enough power in his strike to trouble Darren Randolph.

Matt Smith recovered well from his earlier mistake by throwing his body on the edge of the 18-yard box to block a powerful Irish shot. His passing was excellent and looked comfortable next to Joe Allen in midfield.

The first chance of the second half fell to Wales, when Arter brought down Connor Roberts on the edge of the box.

Harry Wilson, who scored a world-class free kick against Man Utd recently, stepped up and struck it straight into the top left corner, leaving Randolph no chance of a saving it.

Wales looked much brighter after going 1-0 up, but Ireland almost found a reply when Jeff Hendrick edged through the Wales defence and shot straight at Hennessey.

On 73 minutes, Smith started a Welsh counter attack by playing a through ball to Lawrence, and the Derby winger was able to force a corner.

From that same set piece, James Chester almost scored his first goal in a Wales shirt from Wilson’s perfectly drilled cross, but he headed wide.

Wales continued the pressure, this time with Tyler Roberts, who was slightly off balance when he hit the ball wide.

Ireland’s counter attacks were few and far between. A break in the 81st minute only led to a comfortable save for Hennessey, even though Ireland were throwing players forward into the Welsh half.

Giggs enforced a more defensive shape for Wales with three new introductions late in the second half. George Thomas played in an unfamiliar central midfield role, Chris Gunter came on at right-back and Andy King came on to make a three in midfield.

The result looked confirmed as the game headed into the 90th minute, but McClean almost changed that with a powerful strike. Hennessey’s solid performance between the sticks continued when he saved the shot and followed this up by collecting a cross with ease.

The final Welsh chance of the match fell to youngster, George Thomas. Tyler Roberts played him into a one-on-one with Randolph, but he squandered this golden opportunity to secure the game with a second goal for Wales.

Ireland had one more opportunity and sent Randolph up for a corner in a desperate attempt to equalise. However, this came too late for the Irish and Wales secured their second win over Ireland in a matter of weeks, taking them to first in the group with one game remaining.

Player ratings:
Wayne Hennessey (7), Connor Roberts (6), Ashley Williams (7), James Chester (6), Ben Davies (6), Joe Allen (6), Matt Smith (7), David Brooks (7), Harry Wilson MOTM (7), Tom Lawrence (6), Tyler Roberts (7).

Subs: George Thomas (6), Chris Gunter & Andy King (not enough time on the pitch).

Follow the blog on Twitter to receive the latest news regarding Welsh football.

Read more:
• Chris Mepham is “loving” his season with Wales and Brentford
• Giggs and Williams speak ahead of clash with Spain 
• Harry Wilson eager to fulfil childhood dream 
• Everything you need to know about Joe Rodon – the latest Wales call-up 

Ryan Giggs announces his squad for the fixtures against Spain and Rep. of Ireland

Wales manager, Ryan Giggs named his 25-man squad ahead of the friendly v Spain and Nations League match v Republic of Ireland. This announcement didn’t draw too many surprises, other than Joe Rodon’s omission after his excellent form for Swansea.

The difficulty of picking players:

“It was straightforward this time because I was happy with the last camp. Tom Lockyer and Joe Ledley are injured at the moment, so they are the two players who are left out.”

“I feel as though Joe Rodon is best to go with Rob Page because I think Jazz Richards was a better fit to this squad. I have spoken to him in last few camps and he was unlucky to miss out on the last set of matches. Picking Jazz over Joe was the only real difficulty I had because Jazz isn’t getting regular games at Cardiff.”

Friendly with Spain at the Principality Stadium:

“Every player’s motivation will be high. Playing for your country, playing against a good team and a chance to test yourself at the Principality Stadium. It will be something different for the players, but they will be ready for the challenge.

“It will be getting the balance right for the competitive and more important game against Ireland, but also the players will be desperate to be involved against a top side in Spain.

“It’s my decision to analyse our players and make a decision on who is to play for both games. It’s possible that the team picked for the Ireland game could be a lot different to the Spain team.”

“We felt this game gave us a good opportunity to play in a bigger stadium. A lot of the players haven’t played there so it will be a fantastic occasion in a stadium where I have many happy memories – my favourite being the win against Italy and coming off the pitch in an unbelievable atmosphere.”

“I recognise that we have a great record at the Cardiff City Stadium. We’re not dismissing the Liberty or the Racecourse for future games either. For every game we need to have different options looking forward.”

Aaron Ramsey’s current situation:

“Ramsey won’t be affected when he comes with us. From what I saw from him last time when he met up, he was a fantastic player and a top professional.

“I don’t expect it [the contractual negotations] to impact his performances with Wales. All I’m concentrating on is a player who comes and gives his all with fantastic qualities.”

“He’s a good player so he’d be suitable to play in any league. But at the moment he’s an Arsenal player and he will be fully concentrating on that, it’s pure speculation at the moment.”

“I haven’t spoken to him yet about his wife having a baby. I don’t like to speak to players when they have games on the weekend, but in the next couple of days or so I will be in touch with Aaron about his personal situation.”

Gareth Bale’s minor injury and game time next week:

“Gareth had a groin strain on the weekend, but the scan was clear. He expects to play on Saturday evening for Real Madrid.

“You want a good relationship with all the clubs, especially with Gareth at Madrid. Every game is huge for a club of that size – how many minutes he plays, how often he trains etc. Ideally, I want him to play every minute, but that’s not possible.”

“Gareth Bale will be presented with an honour before the game against Spain next week for becoming Wales’ highest goalscorer. Make sure you get there early!”

The game against Rep. of Ireland in Dublin:

“It’s not easy for the quick turnaround, we should be fresh after our Spain match.

“I don’t think our game against Denmark was down to fatigue – we just didn’t have the length of time to prepare like we did for Ireland.”

“I respect Martin as a manager and I expect a backlash performance. When you get beat as a player, you want to rectify that so I expect a difficult game. If we play to the level that we did in the first game we’ll be fine.”

“The reception from the fans in Cardiff against Ireland was what dreams were made of. But our last game was against Denmark and we got beat and we need to improve on a lot of things. We have to get back to what we’re good at.”

When asked about Roy’s snub at the end of the game in Cardiff: “Roy, like me, is a winner so I expect him to have some reaction and there are no hard feelings.

“I was with him last week in Cork for Liam Miller’s memorial match. We were as normal as ever.”

Ethan Ampadu’s future:

“He is getting matches at U23 level, but it’s difficult as we’ve seen with Wilson and Woodburn [at Liverpool] to see where these players will get their games.

“I was more than pleased with how he turned up in the last camps. He’s only just turned 18 so he has plenty of time at a top club in Chelsea.

“Ethan can be anything he wants to be; what a player and character to have. A manager’s dream, but again, he’s only 18.”

Andy King picked despite not playing a game for Leicester:

“He’s frustrated with not playing at Leicester. It’s about seeing how the players turn up, of course, you want players playing regularly.

“He’s a good pro and looks after himself. Whether he plays 30 mins, an hour or not at all, we’ll assess that as good as we can do.”

Attacking quality in numbers:

He jokes: “I’m impressed with Tyler [Roberts] scoring but not with Harry [Wilson] scoring [against Manchester United last week].

“Sam Vokes scored for Burnley at the weekend. We want players coming into the camp scoring goals, it brings great competition to the camp.”

“I have no concerns regarding Ben Woodburn, he’s just not getting regular games at Sheffield United currently.

“Sometimes a loan works out sometimes it doesn’t, he can come through this and be a better player. It’s up to Ben now, he’s got the quality to perform.”

“David Brooks is another player I enjoy coaching, he can do things out of the ordinary. When you get your chance, you have to take it and he has at Bournemouth.”

A future Team GB:

“Without getting into the details, in my experience in 2012, it was fantastic. Whatever the FAW have with regards to the women is up to them.”


 

I also spoke with Wales U21 manager, Robert Page. You can view what he said on the blog’s Twitter feed – www.twitter.com/behindthegoal16

Read more:
• Mitchell Clark “surprised” at not being named in the Wales U21 squad
• Wales Watch: Tyler Roberts shines again for Leeds in midweek
• What needs to be done to end Cardiff’s winless campaign? 
• Three Welsh players net their first club goals this season 
• Wales Watch: Harry Wilson shows his quality in the League Cup 
• Wales Watch: Ramsey and Wilson hit form 

Three Welsh players net their first club goals this season

Cardiff-born Andrew Hughes is doing all that he can to capture the attention of Ryan Giggs. The Preston left-back scored his first goal for the club from a free kick after signing in the summer. With Paul Dummett currently injured and other left-backs Neil Taylor and Declan John not getting regular football, Hughes could be in contention for his first international call up next week. Chris Maxwell was in goal for Preston but couldn’t stop West Brom scoring three goals to win the game 3-2.

It was the perfect day for Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium as they beat QPR 3-0. Connor Roberts scored his first goal for the club, following his first career goal just three weeks ago for Wales. Joe Rodon kept his place at the back and could be another player to earn his first Wales senior call up. Daniel James was an unused substitute for the Swans.

Tyler Roberts maintained his good form with Leeds as they drew 1-1 with Sheffield Wednesday. Roberts played the full match and bagged an assist for the stunning Leeds equaliser. Ash Baker played an hour for Sheff Weds at left back.

It was a first goal of the season for Sam Vokes, who headed in Burnley’s winner against Cardiff to win 2-1. Jazz Richards was an unused substitute for Cardiff in the same game.

Keiron Freeman is another player who will be looking to impress Ryan Giggs ahead of upcoming internationals, as he remains first-choice right-back for Sheffield United. He played 90 mins in a dramatic 3-2 away win against Millwall, where veteran Steve Morison captained the home side. Tom Bradshaw was an unused sub for Millwall and Ben Woodburn was not in the 18 for Sheff Utd.

Ashley Williams and Joe Allen started together in the Stoke team for the first time this month, but were unable to guide the team to their third league victory of the season. Stoke conceded two goals again and sit in 17th position after drawing 2-2 with 18th placed Rotherham.

Brentford’s Chris Mepham and Reading’s Chris Gunter played 90 minutes against each other on Saturday in a game that finished 2-2 at Griffin Park. Meanwhile, Derby’s Harry Wilson couldn’t quite match the excellent level he displayed at Old Trafford in midweek against Man Utd. Derby lost against Bolton 1-0 away from home and Tom Lawrence made his first appearance for The Rams after returning from suspension. Christian Doidge came on for the final 15 minutes for Bolton.

James Chester played his regular 90 minutes for Villa, but failed to keep a clean sheet again. The game finished 1-1 with Bristol City and Marley Watkins appeared for a few minutes to see out the match.

Lee Evans‘ Wigan lost 1-0 away from home against Norwich, where Louis Thompson made a second half appearance in midfield for the Canaries. Evans is a likely candidate to be called up next week because Andy King and Joe Ledley are not getting any first team football currently.

Aaron Ramsey will have been massively disappointed to be taken off after an hour for Arsenal. The breakdown in contract negotiations became public news this week and will have no doubt influenced Emery’s decision in the game to bring Ramsey off early. Ramsey is rumoured to move to Serie A, either in January for a fee or next summer when his contract finishes.

It was a slight worry to see Gareth Bale brought off at half time in the Madrid derby for what was thought to be a minor muscular injury. Here’s hoping he is fit for the matches against Spain and Rep. of Ireland in a couple of weeks.

In League One, Adam Matthews came on very early in the first half for Sunderland as they drew 1-1 with Coventry. Adam Davies remains as Barnsley no.1 and played 90 mins in their 3-1 win against Fleetwood. Tom Lockyer came off injured after 38 minutes for Bristol Rovers.

Alex Babos made his first appearance for Spanish Segunda side Real Union on Sunday evening, coming on in the 76th minute. 18-year-old Matt Smith played in central midfield in FC Twente’s 2-1 comeback win.

Follow the blog on Twitter to receive all of the latest updates.

Read more:
• Wales Watch: Harry Wilson shows his quality in the League Cup
• Wales Watch: Ramsey and Wilson hit form 
• Tyler Roberts was the star player of the midweek games 
• Club football restarts: Welsh player updates 

Tactical predictions for Wales v Rep. of Ireland

International football is back this week, in the new form of the Nations League. If you are unaware of what the Nations League is, feel free to read this explanation article I posted last month. In one simple sentence – they are competitive games and not friendlies.

Continue reading “Tactical predictions for Wales v Rep. of Ireland”

What midfielders could become Cardiff City players by Deadline Day?

1. Andy King

Andy-King-Wales

A Premier League winner, a European Championship semi-finalist, 47 caps at senior international level and 94 Premier League appearances for Leicester and Swansea. 

It must be agreed that Andy King’s career on paper is very impressive for any professional footballer. However, he has found himself surplus to requirements for Leicester City, featuring only 11 times last season before being loaned out to help Swansea battle relegation from the top division. Swansea were unable to avoid the drop and King is now back at Leicester, looking extremely unlikely to feature in their side this year.

He would offer Cardiff versatility in midfield, be able to play as a no.10 having done so for most of his career for Leicester, as well as a deeper role as he done for Wales in the recent Euro and World Cup qualifying campaigns.

King would likely be a much cheaper option than most midfielders with his experience and wouldn’t demand crazy wages that Cardiff couldn’t pay.

 

2. Ryan Woods

Brentford-v-Queens-Park-Rangers-Sky-Bet-Championship

An incredibly intelligent midfielder that could no doubt make the big step up to the Premier League.

Ryan Woods has already racked up 206 league appearances for Shrewsbury and Brentford by the age of 24 in a career that has spanned just 6 seasons. Just over half of these games have come at Championship level.

He can play in a variety of positions across midfield because his wide range of attributes allow him to hold that flexibility. A great passer, strong tackler with a near-perfect sense of positioning  in midfield.

Brentford would likely demand a transfer fee of £10 million+ for Woods this summer and currently Swansea are favourites to sign him.

 

3. Alfred N’Diaye

Wolves-star-Alfred-N-Diaye-654544

The tough tackling central midfielder that Cardiff are desperate for in their bid to stay up this season.

He was instrumental in Wolves’ promotion to the Premier League last season and spent the summer playing for Senegal at the World Cup. He would no doubt provide much needed competition to Aron Gunnarsson and Loic Damour.

Neil Warnock has already publicly stated his interest in N’Diaye when Grujic became unavailable to sign.

“We have spoken to the club involved but I think the package is a bit beyond us,” Warnock said of N’Diaye.

Even still, if no other option becomes available Cardiff might have to increase the budget in a desperate attempt to bring in some more quality.

 

4. Scott McTominay

skysports-scott-mctominay-huddersfield-manchester-united_4234334

McTominay could be a potential season-long loan option from Manchester United after breaking into their first team last season, as well as debuting for the Scottish national team. 

I’m not sure how likely he could be to sign for anyone on loan this season, but looking at the options Man Utd have in midfield (Pogba, Fred, Pereira, Matic, Fellaini, Herrera, Mata) you would think McTominay is currently bottom of the central midfield pecking order.

He lacks experience at the highest level but showed glimpses of fantastic quality last season. He stands at 6″4, has a good first touch and is strong on the ball. He can play as a box-to-box midfielder or a holder that breaks up play. He would also provide an aerial threat at set pieces, something Cardiff will definitely look to exploit this year.

 

5. Daniel Amartey

daniel-amartey-leicester-city_1pm3m1q5fgi8s1ulejrzjnmtcf

A hard-working, strong midfielder eager to find his feet in the top division. 

Like Andy King, Amartey has found himself behind a number of central players at Leicester and could be another one to make a move away from the King Power Stadium before the deadline next week. An international for Ghana with 22 caps, he can also play at right back.

He has only played 37 Premier League games for Leicester since joining in January 2016, the same year Leicester won the title. He featured 5 times in the 15/16 league winning season. Amartey was massively hyped as being the successor to Kante after he left for Chelsea but things haven’t quite ended up that way.

His work rate can’t be doubted, he has just lacked quality in some areas (interceptions, key passes), which is often why he has found himself on the bench.

A loan would probably do all parties some good if Cardiff are still looking for midfield competition next week.

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