Toshack: Wales ready to shine

Toshack: Wales ready to shine

John Toshack believes his overhaul of the Wales side can bear fruit in the forthcoming Euro 2012 qualifying campaign.

Wales have not played in the finals of a major tournament for 52 years but Toshack is optimistic as they begin their latest attempt to reach one in Montenegro tonight.

Toshack has overseen a huge transition of the national side in his near six years in charge with several youngsters emerging.

The former Real Madrid boss believes most of them are now experienced enough to make an impact at the start of a group programme which also includes games against England, Switzerland and Bulgaria.

Toshack said: “What we have gone through – team rebuilding – was difficult enough but has been made even more difficult by the ridiculous problems we have had through injury, making five or six changes every game.

“The continuity, we just haven’t had it.

“But apart from two long-term injuries we are pretty much okay.

“The side that plays, as much as they are young players, have got quite a number of caps under their belts now.

“Things have happened that we couldn’t have foreseen – injuries and retirements from players who really should still have a lot to offer at international level.

“It has probably taken a little longer than I would have liked but we are in this position now and hopefully we will be able to get off to a good start.”

Gareth Bale is one of the shining lights of the young Welsh generation after discovering some excellent form for Tottenham.

The 21-year-old left-sided defender or winger is now one of the hottest properties in the Barclays Premier League.

He signed a new four-year contract with Spurs last May but, according to Toshack, that did not stop another club attempting to buy him in the summer.

Toshack said: “It was a big-money bid – it’s big money to me anyway. You’ll have to ask Tottenham, they know about it.

“Gareth is aware people are looking at him and people are interested.”

Toshack did not identify the club concerned but given his extensive knowledge of European football as a former manager of eight clubs on the continent, it is assumed to have come from overseas.

Captain Craig Bellamy has stressed the importance of getting the campaign off to a positive start tonight.

The 31-year-old said: “Everyone wants to get off to a good start.

“It isn’t over for us if we don’t but, realistically, I do believe the way the group is going to pan out we need to have a positive result.

“This is a big game for both of us – a lot rides on it.”

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