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Williams hails Welsh wing pair

Wales captain Ashley Williams believes his country has one of the world’s best wide duos in Gareth Bale and Craig Bellamy.

Bale has been in superb form for Spurs this season, with a sensational goal against West Brom on Sunday cementing a top-four Premier League position – while Bellamy’s side are 10 points clear at the top of the Championship.

And Swansea skipper Williams feels the return of the 33-year-old has ‘lifted’ Chris Coleman’s squad as Bellamy prepares to make his first international start for nine months against Austria on Wednesday night.

“I don’t think there is a better pair of wingers anywhere than (Gareth) Bale and (Craig) Bellamy,” Williams told reporters.

“Most teams have a really strong winger and a good one as well to back him up, but we have two top-class ones.

“In the past, opposing teams may have just looked to concentrate on trying to stop Gareth. They can’t do that anymore, because they have to think about the threat offered by Craig, too.”

Wales suffered a poor run of form in 2012; despite beating Scotland, they lost their other three World Cup 2014 qualifiers against Belgium, Serbia and Croatia to leave only slim hopes of qualifying for the tournament in Brazil.

However, Williams feels the return of Bellamy alongside Bale will help the team improve their fortunes in 2013.

“We have missed (Bellamy) in the last few games, to be honest,” he said. “We were just waiting for him to come back when the time was right for him and his situation and we are pleased that is tonight (Wednesday).

“You can tell the whole squad has been lifted a bit by his presence. He has given us a big boost, although none of us players spoke about him retiring.

“Craig seems happy and relaxed. He is a top-quality player and, with Gareth Bale, gives us something different.”

Wed 6 February, 2013
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