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Last Updated: Sunday, 8 October 2006, 12:48 GMT 13:48 UK
Kevin Ratcliffe on Wales v Slovakia
By Kevin Ratcliffe
Former Wales and Everton captain

Wales were totally outplayed by Slovakia and it could have been worse than 5-1.

Gary Speed
Calling for Speed and Savage to return is a backward step

John Toshack's side played some lovely football in the opening minutes and were not bad going forward, although they could have created more and asked more from some players.

But the defence was very, very poor.

Young players can let you down at times, and Lewin Nyatanga and Richard Duffy were at fault for the first goal.

You expect better from experienced players, though, and Paul Jones will not be happy with that second goal.

With the injuries in the squad there's not a lot left to choose from in defence.

Craig Morgan was on the bench, but he's another young, untried lad.

Sometimes you have to suffer defeats like against Slovakia to find out what's best for the team

Wales have gone backwards since the Czech Republic game where they were excellent.

Some punters are asking for manager John Toshack's head, but we were praising him after the Czech game and you just have to look at the side that he had out there.

Do we call for the likes of Gary Speed and Robbie Savage to return? People keep asking these same old questions, but it would be a backward step.

Experienced players have been missed, Speed more than anyone, while loss of the influence of the likes of Andy Melville has cost Wales dear.

But Toshack has set his stall out, he's trying to build and give these lads time to get experience.

Looking back on my playing days with Wales, we had some sticky moments when Terry Yorath took over as manager.

Although I wasn't in the squad that day, a 5-1 defeat in Romania in 1992 springs to mind.

Gareth Bale
The youngsters are going to be good players when they come through these tough experiences and learn their trade

We didn't know how he wanted us to play, whether with a flat back four or three at the back - it was trial and error, really.

But we persevered and Terry came within a missed penalty of getting us to the World Cup in 1994.

Sometimes you have to suffer defeats like against Slovakia to find out what's best for the team.

Toshack's squad is very young, but someone like Gareth Bale looks a terrific prospect, he scored a memorable goal.

The lack of game time isn't helping the side. Only two players in that team are playing regular football in the Premiership, the rest of the side is made up of kids - and they are not getting regular games either!

The team simply doesn't have the legs for 90 minutes.

But those youngsters are going to be good players when they come through these tough experiences and learn their trade.

SEE ALSO
Slovakia hammering hurts Bellamy
07 Oct 06 |  Internationals
Wales 1-5 Slovakia
07 Oct 06 |  Internationals
Cyprus 5-2 Republic of Ireland
07 Oct 06 |  Internationals
International photos
07 Oct 06 |  Football


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