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Page last updated at 13:17 GMT, Tuesday, 31 March 2009 14:17 UK

Welsh inexperience concerns Rush

WORLD CUP QUALIFIER: Wales v Germany
Venue: Millennium Stadium Date: Wednesday, 1 April Kick-off: 1945 BST
Coverage: Full commentary on BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra and online, live text commentary on BBC Sport website & mobiles and live on Sky Sports 1


Archive - Rush's goal against Germany

Ian Rush believes Wales' 2010 World Cup qualifying bid has been hampered by their lack of international experience.

Wales' new generation of stars are unlikely to qualify from Group Four after their 2-0 defeat by Finland.

And Wales' legendary goal hero believes they have paid the price for the lack of old heads in the team.

Rush told BBC Radio Wales: "There is a lot of young kids with ability but you have to mix the team with experienced players to guide the youngsters."

The average age of John Toshack's team in this World Cup qualifying campaign is between 23 and 24 years of age and it is one of the youngest Wales squads for generations.

Three teenagers - Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey and Tottenham Hotspur duo Gareth Bale and Chris Gunter - are set to play against the mighty Germans in a World Cup qualifier on Wednesday in Cardiff.

Welsh football suffered a spate of international retirements around the time Toshack replaced Mark Hughes in the Wales hotseat in November 2004.

Gary Speed, Ryan Giggs and Robbie Savage have all quit the international game but are still playing club football while Mark Pembridge, John Hartson, Mark Delaney and Andy Melville have retired completely from the sport.

Toshack's young side will face a huge test in the shape of Germany at the Millennium Stadium on Wednesday as they bid to restore some pride following their 2-0 home defeat by Finland.

The Wales boss and captain Craig Bellamy have all but conceded defeat in the battle to qualify following the Finnish disappointment.

And Rush, Wales' goal hero in their memorable 1-0 win over world champions West Germany at Cardiff Arms Park in 1991, said experience would have eased Toshack's Wales transition.

"Perhaps the revolution has happened too quick," Wales' record goal-scorer told BBC Radio Wales' The Football Hour show.

"If only the older players had stayed around a few years longer, because teams need that experience as you have to mix youth and experience.

"Aaron Ramsey is set to start against the Germans and he will be a fantastic player but sometimes you need a bit of experience, especially playing a great team like Germany, to guide the youngsters through the game and help them learn.

"There are quite a lot of youngsters who would have gained experience by being around older players."

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Wales have just two first-team Premier League regulars in their squad and both Manchester City striker Bellamy and West Ham United centre-back James Collins have suffered injury problems this season.

"For the youngsters to gain international experience they simply have to play games," said Rush.

"There are few Welshmen playing regularly in the Premier League, there are a few playing in the Championship and a few in Premier League squads but they need to be pushing to play in the top flight week-in, week-out."

Wales have not qualified for a major tournament since reaching the 1958 World Cup finals and Rush points out that qualifying for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa was a little optimistic with such a rookie team.

The Welsh team that included Rush, Neville Southall, former boss Hughes, Kevin Ratcliffe, Ryan Giggs and Dean Saunders failed to qualify for a major championships.

But the former Liverpool striker, who scored 28 goals in 73 Wales caps, said: "What Wales must look at is progression and possibly finishing at least third in this group.

"We were more hoping rather than believing that we would beat Germany and Russia to qualify for the World Cup.

"Wales might not qualify now but at the end of the campaign, we should be looking to progress and finishing third - and the result against Finland is going to make that difficult."

* Catch the full Ian Rush interview with Steve James on BBC Radio Wales' 'Football Hour' at 1930 BST on Tuesday.


Wales' squad to face Germany on 1 April:
Wayne Hennessey (Wolves), Boaz Myhill (Hull), Lewis Price (Derby County), Gareth Bale (Tottenham), James Collins (West Ham), Chris Gunter (Nottingham Forest), Lewin Nyatanga (Derby), Sam Ricketts (Hull), Ashley Williams (Swansea), Simon Davies (Fulham), David Edwards (Wolves), Carl Fletcher (Plymouth), Owain Tudur Jones (Swindon), Jason Koumas (Wigan), Joe Ledley (Cardiff), Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal), Carl Robinson (Toronto), Craig Bellamy (Manchester City), David Cotterill (Sheffield United), Robert Earnshaw (Nottingham Forest), Ched Evans (Manchester City), Sam Vokes (Wolves).

Germany's squad to face Wales:
Robert Enke (Hannover), Tim Wiese (Werder Bremen), Andreas Beck (Hoffenheim), Andreas Hinkel (Celtic), Philipp Lahm (Bayern Munich), Per Mertesacker (Werder Bremen), Marcel Schäfer (Wolfsburg), Serdar Tasci (Stuttgart), Heiko Westermann (FC Schalke), Michael Ballack (Chelsea), Thomas Hitzlsperger (Stuttgart), Marcell Jansen (Hamburg), Marko Marin (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Simon Rolfes (Bayer 04 Leverkusen), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Bayern Munich), Piotr Trochowski (Hamburg), Mario Gomez (Stuttgart), Patrick Helmes (Bayer 04 Leverkusen), Stefan Kießling (Bayer 04 Leverkusen), Lukas Podolski (Bayern Munich)



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see also
Wales v Germany
31 Mar 09 |  Internationals
Savage predicts Welsh 'hammering'
30 Mar 09 |  Internationals
Collins issues Wales rallying cry
30 Mar 09 |  Internationals
Players need club games - Toshack
29 Mar 09 |  Welsh
Bellamy writes off Wales chances
28 Mar 09 |  Welsh
Wales 0-2 Finland
28 Mar 09 |  Internationals
Denmark 0-1 Wales
19 Nov 08 |  Internationals
Wales' international fixtures
22 Aug 07 |  Internationals
Wales' results 2009
07 Feb 09 |  Internationals
BBC Radio Wales' Sportstime
27 Feb 03 |  Wales
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Feb 09 |  Wales


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