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Wales to match England, says Sam Ricketts

Sam Rickets
Sam Ricketts was the second-most capped Wales player on Tuesday

Defender Sam Ricketts says Wales can match England next month despite a poor start to new boss Gary Speed's reign.

Wales slumped to 3-0 Nations Cup defeat to the Republic of Ireland on Tuesday and face Fabio Capello's side in their Euro 2012 qualifier on 26 March.

Speed will be hoping to have the likes of Craig Bellamy, Gareth Bale, Aaron Ramsey and Danny Gabbidon available.

"It was a disappointing result because we wanted to get off to a good start," said 42-cap Bolton defender Ricketts.

"But the gaffer said this was the starting point for him.

"There were some good aspects from the game in that we worked in the first half on how we wanted to play. We have to build from this, take the positives and build in every game.

"The England game will be very, very different but everyone is desperate to play in it.

"There will be a lot of lads who play in the Premier League now, so it's maybe not as big a step up as it used to be in the past - or even when we last played them.

"So there is no reason why we should not get a result in that game.

"We've got some world-class players to come back into the side because any team would miss the likes of Gareth Bale, Craig Bellamy and Aaron Ramsey."

Danny Collins relishes England clash

Speed was appointed in December replacing John Toshack, who stood down after defeat in the opening Euro 2012 qualifier to Montenegro in September.

Wales went on to lose twice more under the caretaker charge of Brian Flynn and their chances of reaching the finals in Poland and Ukraine in 2012 look slim.

While England are still in a good position to qualify, Ricketts believes Wales have the quality to cause problems for their rivals.

"Yes it's a massive game, but it is in Cardiff and speaking for myself I can't wait for the game," said the 29-year-old.

"It's a new regime, new ideas and we are looking to progress.

"He's [Speed] got a backroom staff with excellent credentials so it's a chance to learn and improve both as an individual and as a side as well.

"With players who play at the highest level we won't go out and fear England.

"We know what to expect from them and we respect them as players, but that doesn't mean you can't get stuck in."

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see also
Speed turns attention to England
09 Feb 11 |  Welsh
Duff pleased by Republic victory
08 Feb 11 |  Football
Republic of Ireland 3-0 Wales
08 Feb 11 |  Welsh
Wales form annoys captain Collins
08 Feb 11 |  Welsh
Dutchman appointed Speed deputy
06 Feb 11 |  Welsh
Wales' international fixtures
22 Aug 07 |  Welsh
Wales' results archive
10 Oct 05 |  Welsh
Pick your Wales XI
05 Feb 07 |  Welsh
Welsh football history
25 Mar 10 |  Welsh
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Oct 11 |  Wales

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