Coleman: Brave Wales are in fine shape
3:31pm Thursday 5th June 2014
3:31pm Thursday 5th June 2014
WALES manager Chris Coleman has even greater confidence of making an impact in Euro 2016 qualifying after watching the performance of his weakened side in Holland.
A Wales team missing the obvious star quality of players such as Gareth Bale, Aaron Ramsey and Ashley Williams frustrated World Cup-bound Holland throughout Wednesday's international friendly in Amsterdam.
Holland still won 2-0 with goals from Arjen Robben and substitute Jeremain Lens in each half but they were far from convincing as Wales controlled the game for long spells.
Liverpool's Joe Allen, standing in as captain, was influential in midfield while Fulham youngster George Williams made an eye-catching debut cameo up front after coming on in the closing stages.
With the likes of James Chester, Emyr Huws, Jonathan Williams and Declan John also gaining valuable international experience, and the prospect of the big guns returning, Coleman is eagerly anticipating the next qualifying campaign.
Coleman said: "I am happy with all of them. I think they were all brave. It was nice we got young George Williams on the pitch and gave Emyr Huws more experience, more experience for Declan John and Jonny Williams.
"They are babies really, very young. It is a shame we couldn't get Tom Lawrence on, but that is the way the game panned out.
"There were loads of positives for us. In the last two years we have had a lot of players missing and we are trying to better that.
"If we do better that and we get more consistency, I am 100 per cent convinced it will be a fruitful campaign for us."
Wales have not qualified for a major tournament since 1958 but there are genuine hopes of ending that long wait next time round at an expanded European Championship.
Belgium and Bosnia-Herzegovina will be the obvious obstacles in their qualifying group but, boosted by Ramsey and Bale, there could be a navigable route through a section that also includes Andorra, Cyprus and Israel.
Wales will begin their campaign in Andorra in September before playing back-to-back home games against Bosnia and Cyprus the following month.
Coleman feels some good lessons have been learned from the experience in Holland.
He said: "When we have got Gareth Bale or Aaron Ramsey in the team we are meant to play exciting, attacking football all the time. But it is not like that, football.
"What we showed when we didn't have the ball was courage and we worked hard. We denied Holland as much as we could.
"It will be the same when we play Belgium and Bosnia, and Andorra at times.
"We were good when we didn't have the ball. They did the ugly, horrible jobs.
"We have got a lot of good players to come back into it and they have got to show the same mentally.
"It is a tricky time of year to have a friendly but we are not going to not have a friendly in case we get pull-outs.
"We have got an important duty to make sure when we are representing Wales against the Hollands, then whoever is with us is with us.
"That is how we are going to get better, go forward and get momentum. We are representing Wales and it is a chance to play Holland. It doesn't get any tougher but it was a great performance."
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