Three key players for Wales' Euro 2020 qualifying campaign
Portugal’s fine effort in 2016 proves that you don’t necessarily have to be the best team in order to win, but rather a need to remain organised and take your chances when they arrive.
Wales, who made it to the semi-finals in 2016, have a great chance to get back into a major international competition when they continue their qualifying campaign in June.
They face Croatia, Hungary, Slovakia and Azerbaijan in Group E, all of which they are more than capable of beating if their key players put in the kind of performance the world knows they are capable of.
With that in mind, here are three Welshmen that could play a huge part as the Dragons attempt to qualify for back-to-back European Championships for the first time in their history.
Gareth Bale Age: 29 Caps: 75 Club: Real Madrid
There is no doubt that Gareth Bale will have the biggest say on whether Wales will make it to championships that will be held in 12 European cities in 12 different nations, as discussed on Goal.
Bale is one of the best players in the world, even though his future at Real Madrid remains uncertain. On his day, he is unplayable as Liverpool found in the 2018 Champions League final to their detriment.
If Bale is fit then Ryan Giggs’ men will always have a chance, and their likelihood of qualifying could hinge on whether their star man is in form. Bale will want to give it his all as, at 29-years-old, Euro 2020 could be his last opportunity to qualify for a Euros tournament.
Aaron Ramsey Age: 28 Caps: 54 Club: Juventus (at Arsenal until 01 July 2019)
Another household name in world football, Aaron Ramsey will be a massive factor for Wales in the upcoming qualifiers, although he is in a race against time as he recovers from an injury. He may be leaving Arsenal, but moving to Italian giants Juventus just proves how good a player he is.
Juve are Italian football’s top side having won Serie A for the last eight seasons consecutively, although an early title win and a disappointing Champions League campaign have led to them finishing the season poorly as they have little to play for, and this has put them under threat of potential upsets, as can be seen on Betfair’s football tips. Ramsey has the perfect experience of top-level football to be a key man for Wales during the qualifying campaign.
David Brooks Age: 21 Caps: 10 Club: Bournemouth
As with every generation, there is a player that rises out of the group to become the next big thing.
In David Brooks, Wales have a potential star. The 21-year-old was brilliant for Sheffield United before moving to Premier League side Bournemouth in 2018 for £11.5 million.
Brooks has found the transition to the Premier League easy after scoring seven times in 30 top-flight appearances in 2018-19. He has great vision and a fiercely competitive spirit that was developed from his time playing in the lower leagues.
The 21-year-old still has a massive window to improve, but is already one of the brightest talents in Ryan Giggs’ squad. His ability should come to the attention of the wider world when he represents Wales in the Euro 2020 qualifiers, where playing with Bale and Ramsey will only aid his development further.