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Page last updated at 07:28 GMT, Thursday, 24 March 2011

Wales' Ashley Williams eager for England test

2012 European Championship qualifying Group G - Wales v England
Venue: Millennium Stadium Date: Saturday, 26 March Kick-off: 1500 GMT
Coverage: Full coverage on BBC Radio 5 live, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru & BBC Sport website, live text commentary and score updates also online


Defender Ashley Williams has won 24 Wales caps and scored one goal
Defender Ashley Williams has won 24 Wales caps and scored one goal

Wales defender Ashley Williams is eager to test himself against "some of the best players in the world" on Saturday.

England coach Fabio Capello is tipped to pair Andy Carroll with Wayne Rooney in attack for the Euro 2012 qualifier in Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.

"It would be unbelievable... we don't need to say anything about Wayne Rooney," said Williams.

"Everyone knows about him and it'll be a tough game definitely - probably one of the toughest in my career."

While Williams has never faced Manchester United star Rooney before, the 26-year-old Swansea City centre-back has tangled with Carroll.

New Liverpool striker Carroll snatched a point for former club Newcastle last season in a tight Championship promotion battle, heading home three minutes from time at the Liberty Stadium.

"He's [Carroll] a good player, he's a physical presence, he's good in the air, also he's got good feet and his movement's not too bad as well, having played against him before I know it'll be a tough game," Williams added.

"As a player and as a professional you want to play against the best and they've definitely got some of the best players in the world.

"There's no point measuring against average players, you may as well play against the best and see whereabouts you are.

Bale quietly confident ahead of England clash

"But that's secondary, the first thing is the team. We want to get the win, if we all played [badly] and got the win we'd take that.

"After the game you can look back on your personal performance and see how you did.

"It will probably be the biggest game [in their careers] for a lot of the boys in our squad.

"Their squad probably won't say that but for us and for me personally it's definitely the biggest game, the biggest attendance and... I'm on top of the world at the moment, I just can't wait to get into the game."

Wales are currently bottom of Group G having lost their opening three matches of the campaign but under the guidance of new coach Gary Speed and in front of a packed Millennium Stadium crowd, there is real hope they can upset the odds.

Tamworth-born Williams, who signed for Swansea in 2008 from Stockport County, may not speak with a Welsh accent but the 2009 Welsh Footballer of the Year says there will be no divided loyalties on Saturday.

"I was born in England, that's a fact, but lived here for the last three years and I've played 24 times for Wales so I definitely know which side I'm on!" Williams said.

"I know I'm English and always will be but I've got Welsh family and having lived down here I think it helps."


Wales squad to face England: W Hennessey (Wolves), B Myhill (West Brom), L Price (Crystal Palace), D Collins (Stoke City), J Collins (Aston Villa), N Eardley (Blackpool), D Gabbidon (West Ham), C Gunter (N Forest), L Nyatanga (Bristol C), N Taylor (Swansea), A Williams (Swansea), J Allen (Swansea), G Bale (Tottenham), A Crofts (Norwich), A King (Leicester), J Ledley (Celtic), A Ramsey (Arsenal), D Vaughan (Blackpool), C Bellamy (Cardiff), S Church (Reading), S Vokes (Wolves, on loan at Sheff Utd), C Evans (Sheff Utd), F Eastwood (Coventry), S Morison (Millwall), H Robson-Kanu (Reading).

Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey appear on Sport Wales, BBC TWO Wales 2100 GMT, Friday, 25 March.



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see also
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Welsh football history
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Wales' international fixtures
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BBC Sport Wales coverage
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