Friday, 22 May 2009

Toshack to continue his policy of youth

John Toshack, the Wales manager, has named three uncapped youngsters in his squad for the next two internationals, including the World Cup trip to Azerbaijan. Toshack has called on Swansea's Joe Allen, Reading striker Simon Church and Leicester City's Andy King and all three can expect to be handed their first full caps in the warm-up friendly on May 29 against Estonia at Llanelli.

With Toshack set to cut his 22-man squad to 20 for the World Cup Group Four qualifier in Azerbaijan on June 6, the emphasis will remain on the development of the nation’s top young talent. In addition, with many of the experienced regulars out through injury, it is predicted that Cardiff 's Joe Ledley will be named captain of his country for these two matches.

Allen, 19, impressed in the final months of Swansea's failed push for promotion, while 20-year-old King starred in Leicester's surge back into the Championship. Church, 20, has also escelled and impressed with eight goals in ten Under-21 games. He also figured in Reading 's play-off semi-final against Burnley.

Wales are without a string of senior men through injury, including captain Craig Bellamy (knee), midfielder Simon Davies (foot) and defender James Collins (calf). Young defender Rhys Williams has now defected to Australia , having won 10 Under-21 caps, while Toshack can no longer call upon the services of the retired Carl Robinson.

Also left out are veteran midfielder Carl Fletcher and Wigan playmaker Jason Koumas, who is expected to have an operation on a troublesome hip injury which has meant he has not started a Barclays Premier League match since Wales ' last international against Germany on April 1.
West Ham's Danny Gabbidon, who has been missing for 18 months with stomach muscle problems, is back in full training with the east London side, but will not be risked for the forthcoming fixtures in a bid to return unscathed for pre-season training.

Teammate Jack Collison is also back in the Wales squad for the first time since serious injuring his knee in early March. Peterborough defender Craig Morgan also returns after a foot injury ruled him out of much of his club's successful promotion campaign. Elsewhere, Derby goalkeeper Lewis Price comes back into the squad as third-choice with Stockport 's Owain Fon Williams out with a shoulder injury.

No comments: