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Page last updated at 11:22 GMT, Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Ledley backed for lead Wales role

WALES v POLAND
Venue: De Santo Sports Complex, Vila Real Date: Wednesday, 11 February Kick-off: 1715 GMT Coverage: Live on S4C, full commentary on BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru and online


Joe Ledley
Cardiff's Ledley has amassed 24 caps at the age of 22

Former captain Kevin Ratcliffe says Joe Ledley should have led Wales against Poland if Craig Bellamy had been out.

Bellamy struggled with a knee injury ahead of Wednesday's friendly in Portugal, with manager John Toshack admitting to limited captaincy options.

"I think [Ledley] fits the bill," Ratcliffe told BBC Sport Wales.

"I was at Wigan v Fulham on Saturday and if [Wigan's Charles] N'Zogbia is worth £6m then Ledley is worth £12m, the work ethic he gives is top class."

Toshack said he would not take any chances on Bellamy's injury for a friendly, but after training early on Wednesday the Manchester City striker was deemed ready to start.

Twenty-two-year-old Cardiff City midfielder Ledley - who has already amassed 24 caps - will be a leading contender to take the armband in the future, though.

Gareth Bale (right) and Aaron Ramsey
A lot of people got excited about these young lads, like Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey

Wales manager John Toshack

Meanwhile, Toshack has backed teenage defensive star Gareth Bale to overcome his Tottenham troubles.

The 19-year-old, who cost the White Hart Lane club £10m in 2007, is off-form for Spurs and has still not won a Premier League game he has started.

But Toshack insists Bale, who suffered a serious knee injury last season, will come good to live up to his billing as one of Welsh football's brightest stars.

"We would hope he can get back to the form he was in before injury," he said.

"He is not being isolated altogether at Spurs. He has played recently, and these things go in cycles.

"A lot of people got excited about these young lads, like Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey.

"But that is why I have always said we have to wait and see how they develop over the early years of their career.

606: DEBATE
punslinger

"Gareth had a bad injury and was out for a long time. He has played left side of midfield and left-back - and being honest, he is not at his best. There is no question about that."

While Bale has struggled for his club, the former Southampton player has always impressed for his country and even scored a stunning free-kick on his home debut against Slovakia.

The Cardiff-born defender won man-of-the-match awards in Wales' early World Cup qualifiers and Toshack said: "He has never let us down.

"In the first three World Cup qualifying games we played, he was man of the match - certainly in Russia.

"His performances with us have all been pretty good.

"I was more concerned 12 months ago about the injury than I am now, because the injury was taking longer than we thought."



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see also
'Healthy' Wales encourage Bellamy
10 Feb 09 |  Internationals
Wales fear Bellamy injury absence
09 Feb 09 |  Internationals
Young Collison hails Zola tuition
09 Feb 09 |  Internationals
Country profile: Portugal
23 Oct 09 |  Country profiles
Country profile: Poland
21 Aug 09 |  Country profiles
Pick your Wales XI
05 Feb 07 |  Internationals
Wales' international fixtures
22 Aug 07 |  Internationals
Wales' results archive
10 Oct 05 |  Internationals
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Feb 09 |  Wales


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