Wales manager Chris Coleman claims that sealing Euro 2016 qualification with his country was the proudest he has ever been in his footballing career. The 45-year-old Welshman said: “I’m not sure if I’ll ever top that. I’ve never had a feeling like this. As a player I had a good career; I never won the Premier League, but won the Championship a couple of times. Managing Wales has been my biggest honour.”
Wales head into their European qualifying tie with Andorra tomorrow night in high spirits having booked their ticket for France 2016.
Despite losing 2-0 away at the hands of Bosnia & Herzegovina on Saturday night, Wales still managed to qualify for their first major tournament since 1958, thanks to Cyprus’ late winner against Israel.
Coleman joked: “I keep looking at the table and you never spell Wales with a Q.” However, Coleman is insistent that his mind is firmly on the Andorra game rather than the Championships next summer: “We have Andorra tomorrow night and my instinct is to prepare for that. It will be a full house and the atmosphere will be electric.”
Wales will want to cap off a memorable campaign and give the fans something to savour going to a long nine months of preparation. Coleman vows he will not experiment with anything tomorrow night: “I’ve had a team and a formation in my head even before Bosnia, so the team you will see tomorrow won’t be a product of success after the result on Saturday; it’s horses for courses. Physically, there was a lot of output in the Bosnia game from certain players. We want to finish well.”
Wales captain Ashley Williams believes it isn’t quite job done. The 31-year-old Swansea City captain said: “It has took so long and so much effort to qualify, it’s the start of something else now. I spoke to the gaffer on the plane back about plans going forward and stuff and as a group that is something we need to concentrate on.“
Williams added: “A lot of us have had bad nights playing for Wales so we all want to be on the part tomorrow night. I’m not missing this one definitely, so we all want to play tomorrow night.”
Andorra go into tomorrow night’s fixture sitting rock bottom of Group B, having lost all nine games they have played. They lost 4-1 at home to Belgium on Saturday night and have scored just four goals all tournament, and Wales beat the minnows 2-1 last September thanks to a brace from Gareth Bale. Coleman and co will be hoping for another convincing victory to ensure that it is a special night at the Cardiff City Stadium and that the party is one to remember.
Wales squad to choose from:
Goalkeepers: Wayne Hennessey, Daniel Ward, Owain Fôn Williams.
Defenders: Ashley Williams, Ben Davies, James Chester, James Collins, Chris Gunter, Neil Taylor, Ashley Richards, Adam Henley.
Midfielders: Joe Allen, Aaron Ramsey, David Edwards, Andy King, Joe Ledley, Emyr Huws, Jonathan Williams, David Vaughan.
Forwards: Hal Robson-Kanu, Simon Church, David Cotterill, Tom Lawrence, Sam Vokes, Gareth Bale.