Thursday, June 8, 2023

Is Welsh optimism realistic?

Uphill task

After the defeat to England on Saturday, the Welsh players were trying to find the positives out of what to an outsider, looked like a pretty dismal performance.


Some of the players put some of the blame on the pitch, but that looked a little like clutching at straws. They also tried to talk up the performance and look to a brighter future.

Twenty year old skipper Aaron Ramsey said,

“We were very disappointed. Obviously we had a slow start and it was a mountain to climb from there. But I give credit to the boys, we did stick to our game plan. Obviously it was new to us what we were doing today and we created some chances on the odd occasion but we weren’t consistent enough. It was very disappointing. It’s no excuse but the pitch didn’t help as well, it was a bit dry on the surface and we couldn’t get any pace in our attacks. I thought the fans were outstanding and obviously they’re going to go back disappointed. But I thought they were fantastic.”

Defender Ashley Williams added,


“I think against a team like that you can’t give away sloppy goals. I think that’s what we did. Two sloppy goals at the start. We didn’t start very well, they did start well. Then from there it’s impossible, but I think we were brave and tried to get on the ball and control the game. I think when we watch the game back and analyse it we’ll have a lot of positives to take from the game. That’s my initial reaction. We’ve tried to put a structure in place in the way we’re playing. We’re trying to get on the ball and pass the ball. The pitch didn’t help that, but hopefully everyone can see what we’re trying to do.”

Midfielder Joe Ledley continued the positive theme,

“It was a promising performance in the second half. No one scored so it was a draw in that half. It was disappointing in the end, it was still a defeat. There’s still some signs that we look good on the ball. Hopefully the fans can come back just for us players and get behind us. They are a big difference in what we do. Hopefully we can get the fans back and they can support us.”


Defender Chris Gunter was slightly more considered in his view,

“As the manager’s been saying all week, even though this game is massive and we all desperately wanted to win the game and give something back to the fans, there’s a bigger picture. This was just a first small block in a long road under the new manager. I thought second half we did improve. I thought the fans were brilliant today. They were always going to turn out for England. We need them. It does make a difference when the stadium’s full. It is a long road. It was never about the three points in terms of qualifying, it was about the three points of pride and for the fans and for us to gain confidence. It’s a really long road and we need to build towards the next campaign and that’s all we can do.”

I truly admire the Welsh players for showing pride and optimism, but I didn’t think their performance meant that either of those things were particularly called for.


It isn’t their fault, but no matter how good the system and the organisation, at the top level, the teams with better players will win. The fact is that only Wayne Hennessey, Danny Collins, James Collins and Aaron Ramsey play at the top level of the game. Of those, only James Collins and Wayne Hennessey play regularly and they are both in teams at the wrong end of the table.

There is great reason to be optimistic about Aaron Ramsey and Gareth Bale who are young and have the potential to be world class, but I’m afraid Wales will need more than that and I’m not sure they have it.


Graham Fisher



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