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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 May 2007, 14:17 GMT 15:17 UK
Toshack warns his Wales discards
Wales boss John Toshack says players must prove their worth
Wales boss John Toshack says players must prove their worth
Date: Saturday, 26 May
Kick-off: 1500 BST
Venue: Racecourse, Wrexham
Watch: S4C
Listen: Live on BBC Radio Wales, Radio Cymru & online

Manager John Toshack has offered encouragement to the players he has left out of the Wales squad.

But he tempered that with a warning that no one is guaranteed their place.

Wigan forward David Cotterill, 19, was critical after being discarded earlier this month, saying Toshack should not overlook players from the Premiership.

But Toshack responded by saying: "There are Premiership players and there are players who play in the Premiership, and it's not the same thing."

Cotterill, plus fellow youngsters Richard Duffy and Craig Davies all missed out on berths for Saturday's friendly with New Zealand and the vital Euro 2008 qualifier with the Czech Republic on 2 June.

That was because Wayne Hennessey, Chris Gunter, Neal Eardley and Daniel Nardiello were all handed a chance to prove themselves with the Wales senior squad.

"Nobody wants these three players (Cotterill, Duffy and Davies) in our squad more than I do," Toshack told BBC Sport Wales.

If players don't push on at their clubs then there's very little we can do about it

Wales boss John Toshack

"But you can't have a situation where it's harder to get in the squad than it is to get out of it, which I think in the past has happened.

"Sometimes you have to shake the bag and even young players must understand that they don't all of a sudden become part of the furniture, that's a danger.

"We need to look at alternatives and that's what we've done."

Players such as Reading's John Oster, Charlton's Ben Thatcher and Robbie Savage of Blackburn have all criticised Toshack publicly after being overlooked for Wales.

None of these three players with Premiership experience have ever been welcomed back.

But Toshack has shown he can forgive by making peace with Danny Collins, although the Sunderland defender is an injury doubt for the Wrexham game with New Zealand and the Czech clash in Cardiff.

The Wales boss has indicated that Cotterill, in particular, has not yet burnt his bridges, but that he Duffy and Davies must prove they are worth a Wales place through their actions.

"Very often the players don't always realise they need to count to 10 sometimes," Toshack added.

"As disappointed as they are, they won't be as disappointed as I am.

"I put these three players in when they were 17, 18, 19, and if they hadn't played a full international for Wales yet then I don't think anybody would have batted an eyelid or asked why.

"In David Cotterill's case it was a big step up for him (from Bristol City) and Wigan haven't had the happiest of seasons, and maybe he hasn't had as much football as he liked.

"But the main thing is when he's been with us, we haven't felt that we've got what we should from him.

"We can't have young players like that relaxing, nobody will give them more of a chance than we will here, but they have to realise we can't afford to have people there just to make up numbers."

With the summons of players such as Oldham's 18-year-old talent Eardley and Cardiff's Gunter, 17, Toshack shows he is determined to build a pool of players capable of filling Wales' ranks for the next decade.

"We would look, hopefully, to have a squad of 24 up to 30 who won't just qualify for one major tournament, but will be together over a six or seven-year period and maybe qualify for two or three," Toshack said.

"At the moment we're trying to get this group of players together, to get them to know each other, to come through the Under-21s.

"Hopefully they can then push on at their clubs, but if they don't then there's very little we can do about it."

Cotterill angered by Toshack snub
07 May 07 |  Internationals
Latics swoop for 2m Cotterill
31 Aug 06 |  Wigan Athletic
Collins makes peace with Toshack
26 Jan 07 |  Internationals
Thatcher hits back in Toshack row
04 Oct 05 |  Internationals
Savage re-opens old Toshack feud
08 Mar 06 |  Internationals


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