BBC Sport football


Related BBC sites

Page last updated at 06:48 GMT, Friday, 16 May 2008 07:48 UK

Saunders hails Welsh youth push

Wales assistant coach Dean Saunders
Saunders says Wales' young squad will make a major championship

Dean Saunders insists John Toshack's Welsh youth policy will pay off.

The veteran coach has named 10 players aged 21 or younger in his 35-man Wales squad for their friendly double-header with Iceland and the Netherlands.

Toshack has also called up seven uncapped players and his assistant Saunders said: "Players retired and Tosh has given 29 players first caps.

"John has taken criticism but it has been a coaching masterclass to watch him build a new team."

Highly rated Welsh midfield pair Aaron Ramsey and Jack Collison and strike duo Sam Vokes and Ched Evans will both get their first chance to impress boss Toshack.


Cardiff City playmaker Ramsey and Bournemouth striker Vokes have been linked with summer moves to the Premier League moves while West Ham's Collison and Manchester City's Evans have also been tipped for success.

"Instead of us stumbling from one failed championship to another failed championship, always starting again, we have a group of players who can take Wales forward," said Saunders.

"It is going to happen. I may not be here to see it, but it will definitely happen.

"If we do not qualify for the next World Cup this same group will still be around when they are all 25, 26 or 27 together and with the best years of their careers ahead of them."

Wales face Iceland at the Laugardalsvollur Stadium, Reykjavik, on 28 May, before taking on the Netherlands at the Feyenoord Stadium, Rotterdam, on 1 June.

Watching what Tosh has been trying to do has been educational

Wales assistant boss Dean Saunders

Toshack's team have one further friendly - at home to Georgia on 20 August - before the 2010 World Cup qualifiers start in September with a double-header against Azerbaijan in Cardiff and Russia in Moscow.

"We are now aiming for the starting line in September for the first World Cup qualifier against Azerbaijan, knowing everything about everybody," said Saunders.

"This squad is probably the one that we will be going into the qualifiers with, give or take a couple.

"It has been a remarkable turnaround. And watching what Tosh has been trying to do has been educational."

see also
Parry and Bellamy back for Wales
15 May 08 |  Internationals
Wales' international fixtures
22 Aug 07 |  Internationals
Wales' results archive
10 Oct 05 |  Internationals
BBC Sport Wales coverage
23 Mar 08 |  Wales
Country profile: Iceland
24 Jan 08 |  Country profiles
Country profile: The Netherlands
29 Jan 08 |  Country profiles

related bbc links:

related internet links:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2019 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.