Wales Watch: Gwion Edwards, Hal Robson-Kanu and Joel Lynch among the goals

Gwion Edwards was back amongst the goals this week in a 2-2 draw with Reading. Edwards opened the scoring for Ipswich after 5 minutes with a perfectly struck low first-time volley. Chris Gunter was an unused sub.

Paul Dummett will go into the international break with another 90 minutes under his belt. He is more than likely going to start against Denmark on Friday because of Ben Davies’ absence through suspension. David Brooks played 90 minutes for Bournemouth in the same game in the no.10 position, after his excellent showing last weekend.

In the other Premier League matches, aforementioned Ben Davies played at left-back for Spurs in their 1-0 win over Wayne Hennessey‘s Crystal Palace. Sam Vokes played 73 minutes for Burnley but didn’t score in a 0-0 outing with Leicester.

Aaron Ramsey technically got an assist in Arsenal’s 1-1 tie with Wolves, giving the ball to Mkhitaryan to setup a stunning finish. Ramsey started on the bench again and only played the last 15 minutes of the match.

In the Steel City derby on Friday night, Keiron Freeman was the Welshman on the Sheff United side, while Ash Baker and Morgan Fox were part of the Sheffield Wednesday 11. The game finished 0-0; clean sheets for all of the Welsh defenders here, but none of whom are in Wales’ international squad this week. However, Ben Woodburn, who did not make the Sheffield United match day squad has been called up for Wales.

Connor Roberts and Joe Rodon were part of the Swansea defence that earned another clean sheet for Swansea. Dan James started again on the wing, but without a goal or assist this time around.

After making the squad for the first time under Ryan Giggs this week, Neil Taylor went off at half-time because of an injury in Aston Villa’s 3-0 hammering against Derby. James Chester was at the heart of defence for Villa with another clean sheet, while Tom Lawrence and Harry Wilson were off the pace for the home side.

More clean sheets for Ashley Williams‘ Stoke against Nottingham Forest on Saturday evening, Joe Allen was also in the same side. Meanwhile, Chris Mepham‘s Brentford conceded three against QPR, where Joel Lynch scored a rare goal for the home team.

Hal-Robson Kanu scored in a 4-1 hammering against Tyler Roberts‘ Leeds. Roberts only played 25 minutes of the game in the second half.

Third-choice goalkeeper, Adam Davies kept his place for Barnsley’s 4-0 win against Notts County in the first round of the FA Cup. Ryan Hedges came on as a late substitute.

New call-up James Lawrence played 90 minutes at centre-back in their 2-0 win on Sunday and Matt Smith played the full match for FC Twente on Friday night. Our other foreign export, Gareth Bale, came through seemingly unscathed against Celta Vigo on Sunday evening. He will meet with the squad in South Wales on Monday.

Follow the blog on Twitter to receive the latest updates on Welsh football.

Read more:
• Ryan Giggs speaks at the squad announcement ahead of Denmark and Albania
• Wales Watch: James Chester’s heroics were the highlight of the weekend 
• The Welsh Wingers are on fire 
• Doidge opens his account for Bolton 

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 

Everything you need to know about Joe Rodon – the latest Wales call-up

Joe Rodon has become a common name on the lips of Welsh football supporters in the past year, but even more so in the past three months, since cementing a first-team place for Swansea at centre-back. He was deservedly called up to the Wales senior squad for the first time for the matches against Spain and Rep. of Ireland this week, replacing Paul Dummett because of injury.

Standing at 6ft4 and great with the ball at his feet, Rodon has the attributes that every top manager wants from a modern-day centre-back. He is not shy of a strong tackle or a hard header and is a very assured passer of the ball – qualities that are in demand for today’s game.

Background

Joe has been surrounded by football from a very young age. Unofficially, he has been amongst Swansea City FC circles from the age of five or six, where his older brother Sam was playing at the time. He was formally signed to the club in 2005, at the age of eight and has been there ever since.

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Joe Rodon (back row, centre), playing for Llangyfelach primary school.

He comes from a footballing family; his grandfather and uncle were both professional footballers. Grandfather Peter Rodon, who passed away when Joe was very young, started his career with Swansea Town in the 1960s. After a fall out with the first team manager, he ended up joining Bradford City and played for them as a centre-forward/inside-left between 1964-1967 in Division 4 (now League Two).

His uncle Chris Rodon started his professional career with Brighton and Hove Albion in the 1982/83 season, the same season Brighton played Manchester United in the 1983 FA Cup Final and lost after two legs. Chris was homesick and told the manager at the time, Jimmy Melia he wanted to return to Wales and ended up joining Cardiff City on loan for six months in 1983.

His brother Sam Rodon (25) currently plays for Penybont in Welsh Division 1 as a centre-back too. He’s also had Welsh Premier League spells with Haverfordwest and Aberystwyth, as well as playing for West End in the year they won the Welsh Division 1 title.

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Sam (left) in action for Aberystwyth

The family grew up in a small village just a few miles north of Swansea called Llangyfelach. He was a Swansea season ticket holder with his dad by default and played for Swansea City through every age grade. Joe often played ahead of his year group and became a regular for Swansea U21s (now 23s) at the age of just 16.

In April 2015 he began training with the Swansea first team when they were a Premier League club with Garry Monk in charge. Welsh internationals, including Ashley Williams & Neil Taylor were at the club and around the same time, he was captaining Wales at U17 and U19 level. His potential has been known quietly for a number of years and is now on full display for everyone to watch.

Playing senior club football

Rodon got his first taste of senior football with League Two club Cheltenham Town at the beginning of 2018 under manager Gary Johnson. If there was one thing Joe’s game lacked before his loan move to Cheltenham, it was the rough-and-ready physicality needed to play men’s football.

In lots of ways, this short six-month spell in League Two became the making of him – he lived away from home for the first time, he learned what three points meant on a Saturday and what it meant to fellow professionals playing at that level. A relegation from League Two could mean playing non-league football, leaving grown men with families and mortgages forced to take huge salary cuts and as a result, struggling to make ends meet.

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The pitches in League Two are often poorly maintained due to lack of funds, especially in winter. The training facilities and club operations at Cheltenham are nowhere near to the standard of a Premier League or Championship club.

The quick passing and delicate football he had been playing at U23 level would be a far cry from the long ball games, hard-hitting tackles and smashing headers in League Two. But learning this side of the game has enhanced his overall ability and shown him the tough side of football that young players in the modern game often miss out on.

It was during this season that Rodon made his senior debut for Swansea. He is playing Championship football for Swansea City every week and has formed a strong partnership with Mike van der Hoorn, keeping six clean sheets together at the back so far.

There was a worry at the end of the summer transfer window when Federico Fernández left the club to join Newcastle, leaving Swansea with just one senior centre back until January. However, Rodon stepped up to the mark and his excellent performances have seen him linked with Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, drawing a comparison with centre-back John Stones because of his excellent ability with the ball at his feet and natural pace.

Rodon is out of contract in June 2019 and Swansea desperately need to sign him on a long-term deal. He will undoubtedly have Premier League clubs interested in him and he’ll be able to formally talk with clubs from January, should Swansea hold off negotiations for much longer.

Swansea City v Leeds United - Sky Bet Championship

His Welsh international career

A captain of Wales at U17, U19, U20 and U21 level, including the Toulon Tournament in 2017, Rodon has shown maturity and leadership as a teenager that is far beyond his years. He has been Rob Page’s U21 captain for the last 18 months, which demonstrates the faith Wales have put in him.

Continued good performances at youth level earned him a preliminary call-up to the Wales squad in May this year, ahead of the Mexico friendly in Los Angeles. It was disappointing that he didn’t make the final cut of players, but he clearly made an impression on Ryan Giggs – enough to get his full call-up when he replaced injured Paul Dummett for the October fixtures against Spain and Rep. of Ireland.

Rodon found out he was being called up to the Wales squad on Friday afternoon, a day before the official announcement. But he actually heard the news from his mother and not from the FAW directly, because they had sent the message to her on WhatsApp by mistake!

Despite first thinking that it might not have been a genuine text, Rodon and his family were elated when Swansea assistant manager Billy Reid called Joe to congratulate him. Obviously bursting with pride, they had to keep things under wraps for 26 hours until it was officially announced by the FAW, following Swansea’s match on Saturday evening.

Whether Rodon gets his first cap in either game remains to be seen, but Giggs has shown that he has huge faith in his youngsters, just like Sir Alex Ferguson demonstrated to him in the 1990’s.

The likes of David Brooks, Tyler Roberts, Chris Mepham, Harry Wilson, Matthew Smith and George Thomas have played for the U21’s in the last 12 months and are now all involved with the senior squad – most are playing frequently at good levels. Joe Rodon is the latest name of the age group to be called up to the seniors.

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Rodon (back row, right), captain of Wales U21 v Liechtenstein in October 2017.

It’s a slight shame in one way that all of these youngsters didn’t play together in the latest U21 EURO 2019 qualification campaign; there is no doubt Wales would have qualified for the first time in history.

But the encouraging format Giggs seems to have adopted in giving young players a chance at senior level is only good news for future Welsh teams. There is potential in every area of the pitch – Tyler Roberts becoming the first choice striker, Mepham and Rodon a future partnership at the back, Brooks, Wilson and Woodburn on the wings; it’s only a possibility at the moment, but the action won’t hopefully be far away.

Rodon could make his debut on Thursday, on the same pitch as his idol Sergio Ramos – a dream debut for many players across the world. If he plays for any length of time in either fixture, his performances for Swansea this season have confirmed he has the quality to succeed and the talent to go to the very top for club and country.

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

Read more:
• Ramsey and Brooks hit form at the perfect time
• Mitchell Clark “surprised” at not being named in the Wales U21 squad 
• Ryan Giggs announces his squad for the fixtures against Spain and Rep. of Ireland 
• Wales Watch: Tyler Roberts shines again for Leeds in midweek 

Ramsey and Brooks hit form at the perfect time

Bournemouth beat Watford 4-0 at Vicarage Road on Saturday in their biggest away victory in the Premier League. David Brooks was key in Bournemouth’s victory, scoring the first goal after 14 minutes – his second goal in as many games. He was replaced on 70 minutes, but his overall contribution was magnificent; a perfect way to go into the international break with Wales.

Sam Vokes was another player to get his second in as many games in the Premier League. Burnley drew 1-1 with strugglers Huddersfield and Vokes managed the only goal for the home side with a guided header.

Aaron Ramsey was outstanding in his 25 minute cameo for Arsenal, scoring a world-class goal just 39 seconds into his appearance. He also assisted Aubameyang’s second goal for Arsenal to win 5-1. There is a slight doubt that he could miss either of Wales’ fixtures in the international break, due to his wife being very close to giving birth to twins. However, if he has a 39-second cap for Wales and does something as special as this, none of us will care!

Crystal Palace were fortunate not to concede more than one goal against Wolves on Saturday, thanks to the efforts of ex-Wolves goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey. Meanwhile, Ben Davies came on for the last few minutes in Tottenham’s 1-0 victory over Cardiff at Wembley.

Ipswich Town’s Gwion Edwards scored his second goal for the club with a header in a 3-2 win over Swansea at the Liberty Stadium. Joe Rodon, Connor Roberts and Dan James all played 90 minutes together for the first time this season for Swansea. Like Edwards, James was outstanding in his performance and at the moment, Wales are spoilt for choice with wingers. Although Declan John was called up for Wales this week, he didn’t make the match day squad. Rodon was called up for Wales after Paul Dummett withdrew on Saturday evening.

It was a slight worry to see Gareth Bale come off in the 80th minute with a precautionary injury in Real Madrid’s 1-0 loss. It will soon be seen whether he will be fit enough to face Spain on Thursday, but Bale has still travelled to Wales to meet up with the national team regardless.

Tyler Roberts and Chris Mepham played against each other in a promotion-rivals clash. It finished all square at 1-1 and both will travel to the Wales camp in good form.

Derby’s Tom Lawrence played 78 minutes in a 1-1 draw away to QPR. Harry Wilson came on in the 54th minute but couldn’t grab the winner.

Chris Gunter was brought off at 77 minutes for Reading, whilst they were 3-1 against West Brom. Hal Robson-Kanu wasn’t brought on but the game finished comfortably for the Baggies with 4 goals scored.

Neil Taylor played his first 90 minutes in a while for Aston Villa against Millwall, as James Chester was suspended for his red card in the previous Villa match. Steve Morison came on for Millwall, Tom Bradshaw was an unused sub.

Joe Allen and Ashley Williams played 90 minutes together for Stoke in their 1-0 away win against Norwich. Preston pairing, Chris Maxwell and Andrew Hughes also played the full match together in their huge 4-0 victory against Wigan. Lee Evans was an unused sub for Wigan.

In League One, Ched Evans won and converted a penalty for Fleetwood in a 4-0 away win against Doncaster. There was another 4-0 away thumping in League One; Adam Davies captained Barnsley against Peterborough and Ryan Hedges was brought on for the last 15 minutes to see out the huge win for Barnsley. Joe Jacobson also scored a penalty for Wycombe in their 2-1 win against Burton.

Matt Smith played 90 mins in FC Twente’s 1-1 away draw, while Real Union’s Alex Babos made a 10 minute appearance at the end of the match with Real Sociedad B.

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

Read more:
• Mitchell Clark “surprised” at not being named in the Wales U21 squad
• Ryan Giggs announces his squad for the fixtures against Spain and Rep. of Ireland 
• Wales Watch: Tyler Roberts shines again for Leeds in midweek 

Mitchell Clark “surprised” at not being named in the Wales U21 squad

Welsh full-back, Mitchell Clark was omitted from Robert Page’s Wales U21 squad. Clark is currently on loan at Port Vale from Aston Villa and playing regularly for the League Two club. 

In an exclusive interview with Behind the Goal, Clark speaks about his current career with Port Vale and his dissatisfaction with not being included in any Wales U21 squad.

19-year-old Clark played 90 minutes at right-back on Saturday in a 1-1 home draw with Exeter, a game that Rob Page watched from the stands.

“The game against Exeter on Saturday was one of my better matches this season. It’s my first loan from Villa and I think I’ve been performing very well,” explained Clark.

“I knew after the game that Rob Page was there, but I had no contact with him at the game or after it.

Clearly frustrated by the lack of chances, “I haven’t been picked for the U21’s again, so it’s obvious the manager doesn’t fancy me and I’m not in his [Page’s] plans.”

Rob Page named 3 full-backs in his 19-man squad to face Romania and Switzerland, including Rhys Norrington-Davies, 19 (Sheff Utd), Cameron Coxe, 19 (Cardiff) and Aaron Lewis, 20 (Swansea) – none of which are playing senior football at the moment.

“I’ve got Cameron Coxe, who is suspended [for the first match against Romania] and Aaron Lewis at Swansea, who is playing really well,” said Page.

“Clark is still a young one and he’s still developing. He can play at full-back on both sides and we’ve good competition in those areas.

“He will get his opportunity but it might be with the U19’s to start with.”

Clark was left confused by Page’s decision because he has already played 8 times for Wales U19’s between 2016-2017. He was named in the 2017 squad for the Toulon Tournament, but withdrew, along with David Brooks and Rhys Norrington-Davies.

He last played for Wales U19’s in the Euro Qualifier against Turkey, where Paul Bodin was in charge. He also captained Wales U19’s last year and really wants to kick on for the U21’s.

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“I was very surprised to not be named, but I’m not disappointed because it gives me more of a chance to concentrate on club football with Port Vale now.”

When asked about his aspirations to play for the senior squad: “I played with some of the lads who are in the senior squad – Ethan Ampadu, Tyler Roberts and those boys.

“They’ve obviously gone above and made the step up, so the pathway and the chances are there for the players.”

Clark has played 9 times in Port Vale’s 11 league matches this season, who are positioned in sixteenth place in League Two. Port Vale will play Grimsby Town away on Saturday 6th October.

He has a year left on his current deal with Aston Villa, with a 12-month extension option.

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

Read more:
• Ryan Giggs announces his squad for the fixtures against Spain and Rep. of Ireland
• 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 

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 

Wales Watch: Tyler Roberts shines again for Leeds in midweek

Tyler Roberts scored the only goal in Leeds’ 1-0 win over Hull to take them to the top of the Championship. After not featuring for the majority of the opening fixtures, he is definitely adjusting to life in the Championship . A stunning right-footed strike from 25 yards into the bottom corner showed why he is keeping his place in the side. Roberts has netted 3 times and managed 1 assist in 5 games this season.

It was a sixth clean sheet of the season for Swansea on Tuesday night. Yet again, Joe Rodon was at the heart of defence and has become steadily accustomed to the gruelling demands of the Championship. Connor Roberts played in an advanced midfield role on the right for Swansea instead of at right-back, but couldn’t impact the scoreline. Lee Evans played the 90 mins for Wigan in the 0-0 draw and Daniel James was an unused sub for Swansea.

James Chester had a bad evening for Aston Villa and was sent off on 54 minutes for a last ditch tackle against Preston. Chris Maxwell and Andrew Hughes started together again for the away side in a game that finished 3-3 – Maxwell won the point for Preston by saving a penalty in the 96th minute!

There was Champions League action on Wednesday for Ben Davies as Spurs lost 2-4 against Barcelona at Wembley Stadium. Davies played 90 minutes at left-back in a defensive four, but couldn’t stop Lionel Messi thriving on the night.

Harry Wilson started for Derby in their 1-1 result against Norwich. Tom Lawrence and Louis Thompson came on in the second half for the home and away teams. Joe Ledley again missed the squad of 18.

Tom Bradshaw and Steve Morison were both introduced on 75 minutes to salvage a result for Millwall. The game with Nottingham Forest ended up finishing 2-2, but no goals or assists for either striker.

Elsewhere in the Championship, Chris Gunter and Chris Mepham played 90 mins for Reading and Brentford in two draws, respectively. Ashley Williams and Joe Allen played 90 mins in Stoke’s 2-0 win against Bolton and Christian Doidge made a 20 minute appearance for the away team towards the end of the match.

Gwion Edwards came on as a half-time substitute for Ipswich in their 0-2 loss against Middlesbrough and Marley Watkins was a second half introduction in Bristol City’s 0-0 draw with Rotherham.

In League One, Adam Matthews and George Thomas both got an assist each for their clubs. Barnsley’s Adam Davies and Ryan Hedges played 90 minutes in a 1-1 draw against Plymouth.

There are only five unbeaten teams left in the football league this season – Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Portsmouth and Forest Green Rovers. Liam Shephard captained FGR on Tuesday evening in their fourth win of the season over Cambridge. Seven times capped international, George Williams was an unused substitute.

Finally, a late mention for David Brooks – who missed the weekend update, but he scored a cracker against Wayne Hennessey on Monday night for Bournemouth.

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

Read more:
• 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 

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