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Coleman faces tough balancing act

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Phil McNulty | 15:02 UK time, Thursday, 19 January 2012

The raw emotion still lingering following the death of Gary Speed was a constant presence through what his successor as Wales manager Chris Coleman called "the most difficult press conference I'm ever likely to do".

Coleman took over from his former international team-mate, who died in November, knowing he faces key tasks even before he can get his feet comfortably under the table at the Football Association of Wales headquarters in Cardiff.

And during an inquisition he handled with great dignity and with the right degree of respect to predecessor Speed amid his own personal pride, Coleman was fully aware of the juggling act he must now perform.

The former Fulham manager must live with, as well as build on, the expectations lifted by the final few months of Speed's tenure when he took the first steps towards leading Wales out of the darkness with a young and rapidly maturing team.

Chris Coleman

Coleman was appointed the new Wales manager on Thursday. Photo: Getty

He must swiftly pull together a squad still mourning the manager who became their mentor and who still bear the scars of his loss, some of them very publicly.

And Coleman needs to address the concerns of Arsenal's Aaron Ramsey, the young Wales captain and a player of such talent that will be a vital component if he is to achieve the goals Speed set out for Wales before his death.

Others from within the Welsh camp, including Swansea's Ashley Williams, via his Twitter account, have offered public advice to Coleman to try not fix what they feel is not broken.

He must also decide the future of Speed's influential assistant Raymond Verheijen. The outspoken Dutchman was also seen to be keen for the status quo to remain and has significant support for his views and approach within the dressing room.

These are the conversations Coleman must have to set the platform for his time in charge, but he clearly has the full support of the FAW, who have also been very careful to show respect to the legacy of Speed while choosing the next manager.

So Coleman's task is to take the best Speed left behind, with an approach his players felt extremely comfortable and confident about, while putting his own stamp on an appointment he regards as the "highlight of his career - a calling".

It is a delicate balance but one Coleman is in shape to address, revealing he would meet Ramsey to discuss his worries and have those difficult conversations, but with the warning: "The tail can't wag the dog."

The dust has yet to settle on Welsh football after the death of their young manager - indeed it may never settle fully - but Coleman is ready to accept the challenge.

For Coleman himself, this unscheduled appearance as a manager at international level is also the opportunity to rehabilitate his own reputation following a career that started with fine work at Fulham but stalled amid political differences at Spanish side Real Sociedad after promising beginnings.

Coleman had a difficult time before being sacked at financially-troubled Coventry City and suffered difficulties at his last job with Larissa in Greece.

Despite the comments of the influential Ramsey and claims that veteran Craig Bellamy may need to be persuaded to continue his revitalised Wales career, Coleman is winning plenty of support from respected figures within football who recall how he led Fulham to their then highest Premier League finish of ninth in 2004.

Former Wales captain Kevin Ratcliffe told BBC Sport: "This is a sensible choice.

"We need a Welshman in charge and I do not think there were too many other candidates around who could come in.

"Chris is a good man and a proud Welshman, so he will be passionate about the job and want to carry on the good work started by Gary.

"I don't think there were too many candidates who were going to move from a club to take the job.

"Chris did very well with Fulham, he was available and he was obviously in the minds of the FAW when Gary got the job last time.

"He didn't have a great time at Coventry but that was more one of those things that he was there at a time when they were going through some tough times. Whoever has followed him hasn't done very well either.

"He will have a bit of work on his hands when he gets going and of course things won't be the same as they were under Gary because Chris will want to put his own stamp on it, but if we can keep keep things going as they were that would be fantastic.

"We have got a group of players who are maturing game by game and when you look at who is the best available with the credentials to do this job then Chris is a good choice who deserves support."

Fellow countryman Tony Pulis, also called for Coleman to be given support and time in his task, with the Stoke manager saying: "It is difficult due to the circumstances surrounding Gary, but Chris knew Gary very well and everybody in Wales will understand.

"He just needs a little bit of luck, a little bit of time as we all do. I think he will be given a bit more time and certainly a lot more grace. He's had great experience and he's worked in the Premier League for a long time.

"He'll know the players back to front as well. All the people who helped Gary, helped him get results while he was in the job, should get behind Chris now and the country can push forward."

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Let's get behind Coleman, he sounded very passiomate in the press conferance, he's a proud Welshman thats wants the best for his country.
    The most importnat thing is to get a manager who can ensure the players turn up for each and every game. The fact that he is still young bodes well. We have potentailly a great team with some special players. This really could be a golden generation, I wish him the best of luck

  • Comment number 2.

    Firstly I would like to say good luck to Chris Coleman. I am glad we have a welshman appointed as the new manager since Gary Speed's tragic death. It's a very difficult situation and I think he conducted the press conference very well.

    However, I am of the opinion of the players where the FAW could have consulted the players of the players they could have least held meetings with them given the situation. It's taken this long to get the strongest squad we can possibly have happy to play for Wales again and can understand the players frustrations/concerns.

    I remember watching Wales when we played Bulgaria at the Cardiff City Stadium in September 2010 vowing I would never watch them again (I have since been by the way and before G S took over!!) and frustrated that players would pull out with injuries and thinking a draw would be a good result!

    But Gary in his short time as manager became a player's manager and seemed to get the best out of his players - similar to when Mark Hughes was in charge. I think the players are as concerned as are fans that they don't really want to start from square one and they now need to carry on Gary's legacy which (although early on) was proving successful given recent results.

    I know the World Ranking system is awful but to even go from 112th to 48th is a great achievement and although the players deserve the credit I hope the backroom staff remain as they deserve credit too.

    Chris did well with Fulham and is a true Welshman so fingers crossed he can pick up from where Gary left off and achieve something we have failed to do for a number of decades.....qualify for a tournament!

    Good luck Chris!

  • Comment number 3.

    I daresay CC couldn't turn this job down but I think he's on a hiding to nothing - do well and its a result of Speed's "team", do badly and it could be the last football job CC ever has.

    I daresay though that had he not taken it then the phone might have stopped ringing especially since he just left his last club.

    Personally I'd have asked Walter Smith to take charge until the FAW decide what it is they want - and wait until the summer to appoint on long-term basis. Coleman might be "the answer" but if he was then "what was the question"?

  • Comment number 4.

    'dogs dinner' being mixed up on the tactics board, methinks....

  • Comment number 5.

    You need to change the Twitter link for Ashley Williams. That account certainly doesn't belong to the Swansea and Wales defender...

  • Comment number 6.

    Would like to wish CC good luck first of all,and second,encourage the players to get behind him. Naturally the sad loss of GS is a tragedy,but nobody can change whats happened. Wales have a good group of young players,but they have to trust and believe in CC

  • Comment number 7.

    I would like to say good luck to the new manager but I think he will probably struggle because his predecessor was so popular.

    P.S. I am trying to recreate the old 606 at http://bit.ly/tw6Bdj

  • Comment number 8.

    I fail to see the continuity the welsh FA were talking about. All of Speeds good work will be undone by this appointment. Just because Coleman is Welsh and had a few high profile jobs, doesn't mean he is any good - clearly not a lot of thought went into the decision.

  • Comment number 9.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 10.

    I notice that the FAW reckon they have the legal issues over CC's appointment covered re: unpaid wages leading to CC and backroom staff leaving - whatever FAW have found will have clubs quaking in their boots - if FAW have a watertight method of appointing, for want of a better term, "walkaways" then the players caught up in such scandals won't be far behind and that leaves clubs ultimately even more vunerable - I suspect many a club will be seeking a Larissa victory in that case!

  • Comment number 11.

    Good luck CC..you're gonna need it. I was pleasantly surprised how GS worked out for Wales so lets give the guy a chance.

  • Comment number 12.

    Good Luck CC..........wishing you all the best on the appointment...Carry on the great work Gary Speed started....

  • Comment number 13.

    I believe that this is a good appointment. I share the views expressed by some. Chris Coleman is a good man and a proud Welshman. These are unprecedented circumstances and the loss of Gary Speed broke our hearts. Chris Coleman's conduct alone deserves this chance. His passion and honesty can see us take things to the next level which clearly happened during Speedo's tenure. Welsh Football has made progress ever since the Toshack rebuilding work began.

  • Comment number 14.

    For me Coleman is definitely the right man for the job. He's a different manager to Speed, but people questioning his past credentials would do well to consider that he has shown far more managerial ability than Speed did at Sheffield United. It sounds simplistic but at the end of the day they needed a Welshman and a young man who represented his country in the last 10-20 years: not to appoint Gary Speed II, but because as Speed showed inspiring players is the most important job. Yes, Speed's philosophy was good, but players like Bellamy, Ramsey and Bale wanted to turn up and play for him, as opposed to Giggs' 9 years of no-shows in friendlies. This was reflected on the pitch with more consistency and fluidity.

    I'm not sure on Verheijen, I found some of his tweets about Speed's 'wishes' highly disrespectful and self-serving, but then again if the players in that squad feel he is a key man then I can't argue with that. It remains to be seen whether or not he will be willing to play second fiddle again, but I imagine Coleman will want to surround himself with familiar faces, and said as much today.

    Looking forward, I can't see the team regressing into the limp outfit they were under Toshack. If nothing else, Speed's reign has shown fans and players alike that by international standards Wales are not a bad side. The aim has to be qualifying for WC 2014, although in reality a 3rd-place finish in a group with some tricky sides would continue their recent improvement and be a great platform for a qualification campaign for the 24-team Euro 2016.

    Given that I've slated Phil for failing to blog about Wales, even failing to mention their performance in a blog on their match with England, I should say that this is a well-written and measured article. Unfortunately, the lack of comments on it thus far suggest it's not one that most people are interested in.

  • Comment number 15.

    I wish CC well but I am not sure he is the right fit for Wales, of course a like for like with GS was impossible.

    The understanding GS had with the team in a short time left me thinking why can't we have an England manager with the same motivational attitude, the same respect from his players and the ability to recognise and correct his initial tactical errors.

    CC's early managerial days at Fulham, he did reasonably well but then again most managers would have done the same with the quality they had at the time. Coventry was a disaster where tactically, he looked out of his depth. It was downhill after that and he never fulfilled that early promise. Admittedly international management is totally different and I hope for the teams sake that he settles in.

    Having watched several of the Welsh under 19's and under 21's matches in the last 5 seasons, the quality is not there in depth but there have been some good performances which bodes well for the future. One in particular, young Adam Henley, he's got pace to burn and could play a number of positions right or left sided, certainly a long term prospect. I am praying he gets a few mins at the higher level because he could end up playing for the USA.

  • Comment number 16.

    #15 You have to highlight the differences between what England and Wales require in a manager. Granted, the fundamental basis of managing is getting the best out of your players, which Speedo did, thereby laying the foundations for Wales' vast improvement, but he was nowhere near good enough as a manager to lead somebody like England, where every selection and tactic would have been picked apart. Speed also had a lot more freedom in that there are no undroppable players beyond Ramsey, Bale and Bellamy if fit, whereas whatever people say with England, there would be outcry if any one of about 12 players were excluded from the squad when fit.

    I'm not naive enough to think that Wales are going to go from strength to strength: for a footballing nation of our calibre talent comes in waves. It is important to build a strong foundation so that we can make the most of talent when it does come and push for major tournament qualification (particularly with the expansion of the Euros to 24 teams) and be respectable when talent is scarce. The country was always in for a barren few years after the failure to qualify for Euro 2004 with so many good players retiring and falling out of favour as well as Sparky leaving, but for me Wales were in no better position 6 years on under Toshack, they were stale under him.

    Coleman has had a mixed bag, although I think you're a bit harsh on him: at Fulham, he came in and guided them to safety, took them to a 9th-placed finish the year after then had to sell his best players and still kept them clear of relegation the next year. His achievements with a club of Fulham's size are forgotten after the great job Hodgson did there but he is one of the reasons they're an established Premier League club now. At Sociedad he was doing okay and then politics did for him, and Coventry was hardly a raving success but he had a poor squad and the Championship is not an easy league to manage in when the chips are down.

    Verheijen may have been a more progressive appointment, and I sincerely hope that Coleman doesn't ride roughshod over the work Speed did, but I think that for both the fans and for many Welsh players Coleman is the right man for the job, given his obvious patriotism and dedication. First and foremost in the wake of Speed's untimely departure is ensuring that the best players want to play for the country, something that for me was missing under Toshack. Coleman spoke very well in his press conference and interviews and has suggested he is not going to rip up the good work, but also not going to sit back and be a figurehead appointment.

  • Comment number 17.

    I've always liked 'Cookie' as a personality, but if I'm honest am not sure about him as the next Wales manager.

    After having a great start to his career at Fulham on a shoestring budget and being unfairly sacked, he's failed to light up the managerial World since.

    Personally, I'd have liked to have seen Coleman have some success in club management before being given the opportunity to manage Wales. He's still in his early 40's and has ample time to have been given the job down the line.

    That being said, I didn't want Speed at the time, I thought it was too early for him. I couldn't have been more wrong about that.

    The Welsh FA have done their usual and completely ignored the wishes of the players and coaching staff that had a major part to play in the Welsh renaissance ;-).

    Whilst I disagreed with the timing of Verheijen comments, I believe he was right in that what Wales had was a winning formula and he and Roberts should have been given the opportunity to carry it on.

    It ain't broke don't fix it and it was what the players wanted - they're there day in day out in the camps and know the influence he would they would have had.

    They knew Speeds beliefs and systems that had brought such a dramatic turnaround - and stated they would carry that on to the letter.

    What's done is done now and I wish Coleman all the best, nobody will be happier than me if he carry's he continues to move the team forward.

    I thought he handled the press conference with real dignity, honesty and decorum said all the right things.

    He's said that himself it's a winning formula and doesn't need the wheel reinventing.

    I hope he keep Verheijen and Roberts on and they work as a team, I feel leaving them go will most likely drive a wedge between him and the players.

    He needs to keep the confidence with the players and keep it a fun place to be just like Speed did. Ultimately, he have his own ideas and makes the final decisions as a manager should but I hope he keeps it a team effort with the coaches and players having their input as Speed did.

    He has a fantastic group of players - Ramsey, Bale and an absolute revelation to the Premier league this season Joe Allen.

    It's a midfield most European sides would snap your hand off at.

    It's a v young side and by all accounts there a 4 or 5 quality players due to come through over the next few seasons to strengthen the squad.

    Daniel Alfei of Swansea - remember the name, being one.

    I hope the players give Speed memory the ultimate legacy by continuing what he started and qualifying for the next Championships.

    Wishing Cookie a successful tenure.

    RIP Gary Speed - legend!

  • Comment number 18.

    northbank
    @16

    I think you misunderstood the reference to the England, it had zero to do with the pool of players available. It had nothing to do with results, which can be so misleading. It was however aimed at the qualities a manager must have before he even starts, if there is the is to be any chance of success and I do not judge success by achievements alone. I certainly did not suggest GS was a man who could of led England.

    In 10 months GS revealed more of the essential qualities management requires, than two highly respected England managers, with decades of experience and a talent pool that Wales could only dream of, showed in 10 years.

    It was the mindset of GS which set him apart, certainly from the two England managers, it was not set in stone and this, I believe is the difference between Gary Speed and Chris Coleman, I really do hope I am wrong.

    To achieve what GS achieved can only be done with a minset that is open. Seeing something is wrong is relatively easy, accepting you are the reason it is wrong is hard and being able to change the mindset is almost impossible for most managers. This is why managers are labelled with having their teams play in a certain way, their mindset is rigid. It is ok as long as it works but when it doen't, oh! dear. An example of GS and his mindset, the first Wales/England game, the players were not all over the place they were fairly rigid but the tactics were wrong, in the second match with more or less the same team, the difference was tactics. The two matches showed two styles, one a high line, the other the defence much deeper, one match there was no pressing by players, the other they pressed, one played trying to attack by building, the other on the break. It wasn't by accident, that Wales changed and they gave England an almighty fright and made them look poor. Yes the result was the same but as i said it's not the result is not always the best guide to judge a managers ability. It should be a given, that England beat Wales everytime because of the player pool and the supposed quality.

    I may be wrong but I seem to remember hearing, that Wales won a FIFA award for the most improved team last year, which is remarkable, considering their starting point. Was it down to GS and his management team. Well, who else could it be? The actual player pool was the same.

    As for CC and Fulham, any team with a Van der Sar at the back and a young and f

  • Comment number 19.

    I wish Chris Coleman the very best of luck. As many have stated his appointment is one of the toughest choices ever to make but we all need to get behind him, fans, players, staff. If not then we're destined to fail again and Speed's legacy will count for nothing.

    We have great potential and a belief that we can achieve something with this squad after Speed's remarkable effortand I just hope that the whole of Wales can carry this forward under Coleman. Maybe even improve in certain areas.

    Afterall, Coleman being a defender should help improve the defence, although we kept a few clean sheets under Speed there were some mistakes at the back.

    Anyway, good luck Chris. I hope you can pick up Gary's heroic efforts and take us to Brazil in 2014.

    RIP Gary Speed.

  • Comment number 20.

    Chris Coleman’s appointment shows that The Football Association of Wales clearly believes the way to go is with the recent-pro.

    The Welsh national team has underachieved for a long while, and whilst their small population is an excuse to a point, pretty much all the players who represent the national side were developed in the English league system and play in the English league system, so it’s not as if lack of they lack experience against quality opposition.

    I see no reason why with good management Wales shouldn’t be a side capable of qualifying for the Euros (and for the World Cup once every three or four tournaments), and being a capable “surprise” side.

  • Comment number 21.

    I feel a bit sorry for Chris Coleman, the guy is being written off before his Welsh Team even kick a ball. I also can't help but feel that sentiment is getting in the way of what should be purely a footballing decision.

    Not wanting to take away anything that Gary Speed did but aside from an improvement in the FIFA raknings he didn't accomplish anything. He was still in the process of building a side and we will never know how succesful the team would have been over the course of World Cup qualifying campaign.

    I'm also of the opinion that Speed's relative success, when compared to the likes of Toshack before him, was largely down to "right place, right time" rather than managerial genius on his part.

    When you compare three previous Wales managers (and not being an avid watcher of the team i am fully prepared to admit i am wrong if proven so) in Hughes, Toshack and Speed, surely the players available at the respective times had a huge baring on the successes of the individual manager.

    Hughes had a number of players in the twighlight of their careers, including of course Gary Speed himself. Yet he managed to bring something out of the team that hadn't been seen for years, he created a winning mentality and as with all of Hughes' teams since the side played with genuine tenacity.

    Toshack had the hardest rub of the green IMO. He had to contend with some of the ever presents retiring, whilst he actively chose to bring in new blood. Was it Toshack that gave Bale and Ramsay their first tastes of international football? Along with Wayne Hennesy and a few others i beleive too (again could be wrong). This was a team truly in transition, with a number of the promising U21 side being blooded as full internationals.

    Then we have Speed. He came in at a time where Ramsay was playing regular Premier League football for Arsenal and when Gareth Bale was busily ripping apart the best teams in Europe with Tottenham. Not to mention the re-emergence of the always passionate and impressive Craig Bellamy. He changed the style, granted, and got them believing in an attacking philosophy. But i would argue this was due to the players at his disposal. With such attacking potential it would be stupid not to.

    Coleman will inherit the same squad as Speed, there is little quality outside of the immediate squad to do otherwise. He may have to convince the likes of Bellamy to stay in the International game but aside from that not much tinkering has to be done. The one thing Coleman does possess is a stronger CV, experience wise, than Speed did during his tenure. He has managed a Premier League side to good effect and is used to dealing with the pressures associated.

    I cannot for one second imagine him tearing up a team and playing style that has started to mature at just the right time. I tihnk the Wales fans should be right behind this proud Welshman, turn out in force at the Millenium Stadium as in the Sparky days and give this young, hungry and talented Welsh team the best possible chance of doing what they've failed to do so regularly in the past, qualify for a major tournament.

    Now is not the time to look back at what has happened but to look forward at what Speed's legacy could achieve.

  • Comment number 22.

    Seems a sensible appointment even though his track record is hit and miss,

    Wales have two excellent players in Ramsey and Bale and some good ones (Bellamy, Vaughn, Allen etc). It will be about getting the most out of these fella's and finding a way of minimising the mistakes of some of the lesser player, ie. those playing at the lower end of the premiership, championship even league 1!

    Its what Trapattoni managed with Ireland, will see if Coleman can do the same.

  • Comment number 23.

    #21 I think you have to be a bit more pragmatic about what constitutes an 'achievement' for Wales. Of course, the goal is ultimately to qualify for a major tournament, but remember this is a side whose only major tournament appearance came in 1958. Hughes' reign will always be remembered as a success, as despite not managing to qualify, he led the team to within a whisker of getting to Euro 2004 and beat the likes of Italy and Germany.

    Granted, Toshack was always in for a tough time when he came in as there were a lot of players coming to the end of their career, but under his reign Wales regressed to the late 90s team, with results like a 5-1 home loss to Slovakia. Wales have some very good players now that Toshack didn't have when first coming in, but Speed took over the same group of players and almost immediately turned it round from some woeful performances against Montenegro and Bulgaria to a team that's as good as I can remember. Toshack left Savage out in the cold when he had a good few years left in him internationally, and you have to really question whether or not the likes of Bellamy and Bale wanted to play every game under him as they did for Speed.

    Of course, it does count for nothing if Wales once again flop, but Speed has set the platform for Wales to push on. Unfortunately they are in a tough 2014 group, but the fact that Wales were in a pot with Liechtenstein, San Marino and co tells you how far they have come since that draw was made.

  • Comment number 24.

    With candidates thin on the ground I would say getting one of only I think 3 living Welshmen with Premier League management experience is something of a coup. Its no easy job of course and Coleman will do very well to get Wales anywhere near qualified for any major tournament but the very best of luck to him.

  • Comment number 25.

    What that coming over the hill
    @21
    Not wanting to take away anything that Gary Speed did but aside from an improvement in the FIFA raknings he didn't accomplish anything.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I think you've missed the point, the rise up the rankings was an outstanding performance by any standard. The standard of play and tactics employed immediately prior to GS compared to where they were at at the time of his untimely death, were like chalk and cheese. That was done in less than a year and that is truly amazing.

    Some people only see black and white, winning or losing when it comes to judging success. Success can be judged in many ways.

    What he would have gone on to achieve with the team? nobody knows.

    Northbank @23 I agree regarding 58 and the following years have shown how hard and that is putting it mildly, it is for Wales to qualify for a tournament. Improving the rankings is the only possible way Wales will ever qualify for a tournament. The seedings are there for a reason to protect and ensure the so called major nations all reach the final stages of the Euros and the World Cup. Some may see the qualifying process as unfair but it is the way it is and it definitely will not change.

    Wales have a couple of kids with tremendous potential, as i wrote earlier Adam Henley has the making to go all the way. I hope he's capped sooner than later because he is eligible to play for the US.

  • Comment number 26.

    Sons of albion
    @24

    Whilst having premier league experience is seen as a plus, just as winning titles in major leagues is seen as a major factor for managers of the higher ranked nations. It is not the be all and end all of managing a national team no matter where they are ranked.

    The three most successfull England managers [in terms of tournament play] had one English league title between them and from memory just a couple of FA cup wins at the time of their appointments. What all three did have was the ability to identify and rectify mistakes in team selection and tactics, plus incredible motivational skills. Something that Gary Speed showed in a very short space of time.

  • Comment number 27.

    Wales have two excellent players in Ramsey and Bale and some good ones (Bellamy, Vaughn, Allen etc). It will be about getting the most out of these fella's and finding a way of minimising the mistakes of some of the lesser player, ie. those playing at the lower end of the premiership, championship even league 1!

    Good players in Allen and Bellamy. Bellamy on his day is World Class.

    His pace alongside Bale's with two very talented footballers that are comfortable on the ball, with great balance, vision, skill and passing ability in Ramsey and Allen - should really be able bring the best out of Bale's and Bellamy's great pace and skill.

    Allen good - granted I don't expect him to get his props whilst at Swansea too much. But, rest assured the last is a tremendous player.

    I live and work abroad at the moment and therefore get to watch most Premier League games on a Saturday.

    I've watched Swansea many times this season and Allen has been outstanding, case in point against Spurs.

    Modric, Parker in the midfield and Allen bossed it. He'll be playing for a top four side within two years - I wouldn't be at all surprised to him at one the big clubs come the summer.

    Vaughn - is a decent, squad player.

    As far as Toshack - he was a good manager 20 years ago but he's stuck in the past with ideas and training methods and is a dinosaur today.

    The game's moved on but Toshack hadn't.

    The number of pull outs and retirements in each camp (which didn't happen under Speed) underlined an unhappy camp.

    Training and scientific methods were none existent according to players and it was unhappy place to be where the players lacked confidence.

    The polar opposite of the Welsh camp under Speed.

  • Comment number 28.

    Wales have a couple of kids with tremendous potential, as i wrote earlier Adam Henley has the making to go all the way. I hope he's capped sooner than later because he is eligible to play for the US.

    Agreed - only seen glimpses but looks a quality prospect with pace to burn.

  • Comment number 29.

    steviebeej
    @28

    Yes he is very quick and he can play right or left side, I'm not sure if he's an out and out back though, he looks at times as if he will make a top quality right or left sided midfielder. A good thing for the lad, is the club where he is at, he will get more opportunities there, than he would at one of the top four and Blackburn didn't waste anytime in giving him a contract.

  • Comment number 30.

    I am an England fan, but would love to see Wales do well. Not just because of Gary Speed (though some success would be a fitting tribute to him) but because they have some cracking players, who have plenty of heart and play really good stuff... Hopefully it will click for them now and they can kick on and get stuck into some tournaments in the near future.

  • Comment number 31.

    @averageBBC_journalist Wales have no players in their regular squad who play in League 1. Majority are Premiership now with some Championship and 2 playing for Celtic.

  • Comment number 32.

    @27

    You picked up on my point about Allen and Vaughn etc being good players.

    However, Wales' biggest issue with the current team is not that they dont have serious talent in some areas, but that the players in other positions are very mediocre.

    Players like Edwards (Wolves), Crofts (Leicester) Blake (Cardiff) Gunter (Nottm Forest) or Collison (West Ham) are not top class players. They are good players, though some even playing in the championship.

    The challenge for Coleman is not allow this sort of players to let Wales down. Get good solid professional performances and let Bale and Ramsey do the rest. Trappatoni did it with Ireland so lets hope Coleman can with Wales.

  • Comment number 33.

    steviebeej
    @27

    good points points about Vaughn, he's a worker a decent class worker but nothing special as an individual player but in a team containing the two B's, he is every bit as valuable as they are. In fact a team full of the likes of Bale and Bellamy would be useless. The 2 B's can destroy a team when they are on the job but they can't do it without the workers.

    Wales certainly have the making of a decent side with a couple more coming through, they will give most opposition a decent game. I just hope the good work achieved in the last year is not undone.

  • Comment number 34.

    @ 32

    You picked up on my point about Allen and Vaughn etc being good players.

    However, Wales' biggest issue with the current team is not that they dont have serious talent in some areas, but that the players in other positions are very mediocre.

    Players like Edwards (Wolves), Crofts (Leicester) Blake (Cardiff) Gunter (Nottm Forest) or Collison (West Ham) are not top class players. They are good players, though some even playing in the championship.

    The challenge for Coleman is not allow this sort of players to let Wales down. Get good solid professional performances and let Bale and Ramsey do the rest. Trappatoni did it with Ireland so lets hope Coleman can with Wales.

    ---------------

    My point is that I think Allen is a fantastic player not good but I think you know what I mean.

    I think we have the base of a top side - Hennessey - has the attributes to be a top keeper. Too inconsistent at present though

    Matthews - top, top player, matter of time before he comes to premier and makes his mark.

    Gunter - attracting attention from Premier League clubs again due to his form,

    Taylor and Williams - both proven their quality players this season - it's no coincidence that they play in one of the meanest defences in the PL.

    We struggle for top class strikers - but Morrison and others are scoring goals in the PL and for Wales and seem to fit into the system.

    Plenty of quality coming through the youth by all accounts which should strengthen the squad over the best 2 years or so.

    I completely agree with you that there are good to average players in the squad, and like you say it's important for team be completely professional and organised in defence and that they work hard as unit and team, whilst letting World Class players do their stuff in attack.

    Trappatoni and ROI is top example of what can be achieved with organised and play as a team and even more than that NI under Sanchez.

  • Comment number 35.

    @29

    Yes he is very quick and he can play right or left side, I'm not sure if he's an out and out back though, he looks at times as if he will make a top quality right or left sided midfielder. A good thing for the lad, is the club where he is at, he will get more opportunities there, than he would at one of the top four and Blackburn didn't waste anytime in giving him a contract

    Hope you're right, to have Bellamy and Henley with huge pace on the flanks with Bale through the middle and Ramsey and Allen is a midfield and attack with fantastic creativity and frightening pace.

    Bale often gets double or triple marked when on the wing, so for him to have the option to go through the middle if we had another winger would be great.

    Bale's been frightening through the middle for Spurs, this of course depends if Henley is capped for Wales and upto international football - fingers crossed.

  • Comment number 36.

    Don,t see how C.C has got this appointment. His managerial record is mediocre and thats being kind. This appointment smacks of jobs for the boys.There is no way his record deserves this chance. The welsh F.A should have been looking to build on the foundations that Gary Speed had started to lay. Were is the motivation for the players to continue his work?????, C.C will struggle to command the real respect this job needs,players look at him and can only see faliure. The welsh people i feel have been let down.....

  • Comment number 37.

    Realism should dictate that to qualify alone for a major competition would be a major success and that has got to be within reach based on talent. At the moment it may be beyond reach based on the negativity in some quarters and lack of confidence.
    Get past those two hurdles Chris on the pitch and on the terraces and you can book your hotels for a major tournament.

  • Comment number 38.

    Don't think there's a lack of confidence on the pitch with the players or on the terraces.

    Think a lot of people are uncertain of Coleman and the job he'll do, but they were too of Speed.

    Speed showed we got the players capable of putting in top performances and winning matches against quality sides.

    There isn't anybody we need to fear in the next group although they're are several quality sides.

    Coleman's first job is to win the players backing and trust and they have to want to run through brick walls for him, like they did with Speed.

    If he loses them through a bad choice like getting rid of Verheijen or Roberts who the players have the utmost respect for then his tenure will be a short and miserable one.

    He's right that the tail can't wag the dog, but they need to be listened to and happy in their environment to get results.

    If they decide they don't like Coleman, they won't play for him - just like they didn't for Toshack, and in a years time we'll be selecting a new manager.

  • Comment number 39.

    #33 That's international football for you though. Outside the top 8 teams or so in Europe all the sides are filled with mediocre players. I agree that you don't want 5 or 6 in your starting line-up but Wales at the moment seem to have a good balance of talent and consistent performers. Credit to Ireland for qualifying, but if you look at their side it's very very average, the reality is outside the top few teams, those pushing for the play-offs have squads filled with Championship-standard players.

    #36 Who would you have appointed instead? I don't really see many other options. Verheijen? Aside from the fact he has absolutely no managerial experience, managing and coaching are two different things and being good at the latter doesn't guarantee being good at the former. Wales are doing very well but let's be honest, it's not a hugely attractive job. International management is not for everybody as you go months with almost nothing to do, and top managers aren't going to be falling over themselves to apply for a job where near failure is considered a success, especially with the circumstances behind the job vacancy. They can't really be blamed for going with a recent ex-player after the success under Hughes and Speed, and Coleman has far more managerial experience than either of those did. As somebody mentioned, he is apparently one of only three Welsh managers to manage in the Premier League along with Hughes and Pulis, having had a successful period there. In my book he is by far the best option for Wales.

  • Comment number 40.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 41.

    Steviebeej
    @38

    It's the first big test for Chris Coleman, Verheijen and Roberts. For the sake of Wales I hope CC keeps them on board and for the sake of Wales I hope Verheijen and Roberts can accept the job with good intent. If it does happen what has been said has to be forgotten.
    If that does not happen, then all is not lost, it just means that CC has a choice to make on a new team. How that would work is anyones guess but for CC it will be the most important decision he will make, as manager of Wales.

  • Comment number 42.

    Northbank123
    @14
    Given that I've slated Phil for failing to blog about Wales, even failing to mention their performance in a blog on their match with England, I should say that this is a well-written and measured article. Unfortunately, the lack of comments on it thus far suggest it's not one that most people are interested in.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Your 100% right and sadly not that many have posted BUT for those that have, it has all been with good intent, all want Wales to succeeed no matter who is in charge. Mine is in hope rather than feeling a certainty it will happen.

    This blog has no bitterness or 'mines bigger than yours' about it and it's been good to see but maybe it shows, just how small the number is for posters, who are actually interested in football and matters relating to it, especially when it is outside the top four or five in the premiership and England's national team.

  • Comment number 43.

    #42 I agree, it's a good piece of journalism, definitely one of my favourite of his. I can sympathise with Phil in some ways because you're correct, people generally don't want to talk about things not involving the top 6, and blogs on other subjects generally degenerate into the same talk in the comments section. It's refreshing to have a blog on something different, he's not really helped by blogging about City/United every week because there's not really anything new to say, save for reactionary assessments. Likewise with 4 or 5 blogs on England during an international fortnight.

    The lack of comments on this blog speaks volumes for the need of a 606-type forum, where fans can discuss whatever 'big game' they want rather than what BBC send their chief football writer to. The least they could do is employ at least one more blogger to cover other subjects: I know there are people that do South America etc but having two bloggers on British football would give a huge boost to the level of coverage and give fans outside the top 6/England team more value for their licence fee. Discussions on blogs like these tend to be more interesting, objective and constructive, rather than the normal blind-eyed rose-tinted mud-slinging.

  • Comment number 44.

    Good on yer Phil, for the coverage.

    I'd like to know what you think Coleman has to do to be considered a success?

    Qualify for something?

    No chance!

    Many of us will remember the team with Southall, Ratcliffe, Rush, Hughes, and later Giggs, they only came close the once, and that was when the smaller countries were way behind where they are now.

    Simian 'teddy boy', Gareth Bale is an incredible player, and Ramsay and Joe Allen show great promise, but actually qualify? Welsh fans know deep down its never gonna happen.

    We could reincarnate Ivor Alchurch, Billy Meredith, John Charles the lot. NEVER gonna happen.

    Mark Hughes took over an unhappy team that was totally under-performing under Toshack, he only had to win 2 or 3 games in a row and was able to gain a reputation good enough to get a job in the premiership.

    I think this is also Coleman's long term aim.

    However, Coleman takes over a Welsh team that was on the up it seemed, and in obviously tragic circumstances.

    Opinion will be a lot tougher on him than it was on Hughes or Speed. Plus he is a good deal more experienced than they were.

    In his favour are that he has a good young team, and he's a lot smarter than you might, certainly more so than the players.

    He's also Welsh and he's a good Jack, and he has a cracking sense of humour. He had the funniest nickname ever at Swansea.

    One particular thing that bothers me is the passive aggressive nonsense that these overpaid young footballers are spouting online. What have Ashley Williams or Aaron Ramsay ever done? other than show a bit of promise?

    Ashley Williams is not half the player Coleman was before his injury, He should show some respect. And more importantly learn the off-side trap Ashley.

    Williams was like Bambi on the ice against Arsenal the other day, like he was wearing Gareth Bale's beatle-crushers.

    And yet just a few days later he thinks his reading of the game is sooooo brilliant that he needs to broadcast it to the world. He can't even call the back four.

    Seriously, does anyone read what these thickie footballers write online? Other than lazy Journos?


    I think they should let them go out on the lash once in a while, maybe then we would not have to put up with their 'wisdom'.

  • Comment number 45.

    In international football it is more about the players than teh manager. I see Coleman as a figurehad of Welsh football more than someone who will come in and change everything. I think he should let the backroom staff do what they have been doing. He then goes into the dressing room and reminds them they are playing for their country before every match and do it for Speed's memory. This team can become the best group of welsh players ever but they now have to show it.

    DO IT FOR SPEED BOYS!!!!

  • Comment number 46.

    Steviebeej
    @38

    It's the first big test for Chris Coleman, Verheijen and Roberts. For the sake of Wales I hope CC keeps them on board and for the sake of Wales I hope Verheijen and Roberts can accept the job with good intent. If it does happen what has been said has to be forgotten.
    If that does not happen, then all is not lost, it just means that CC has a choice to make on a new team. How that would work is anyones guess but for CC it will be the most important decision he will make, as manager of Wales.

    -----

    Agreed - he's the boss and the buck stops with him but if he has any sense he'll look to include the current back room staff and keep them on board.

    The players happiness and confidence is what'll make the difference between and winning and losing side. And Coleman's a fool if he thinks laying down the law and stopping his authority is the way to go.

    I don't think he thinks that and is smart enough to know that everybody has to pull together and man management is the key - he has to get the best out of the players.

    Each player will be different but he has to find out what makes that player tick and get the best out of them.

    @northbank

    The lack of comments on this blog speaks volumes for the need of a 606-type forum, where fans can discuss whatever 'big game' they want rather than what BBC send their chief football writer to. The least they could do is employ at least one more blogger to cover other subjects:

    try this - http://www.606v2.com

    it'a a quality site and all wummers and abusive people get banned. It was started by old 606ers when it closed down and covers all sports.

    @44 I don't share your belief at all. Just because a side hasn't done something for a long time doesn't mean they won't again.

    Wales hadn't won a grand slam for close to 30 years - then won 2 in the space of 4 years.

    t don't see any reason why we can't qualify. I don't look at history, it's about today and moving forward - history can do one.

    It's about the players we have today not in campaigns gone past, there not the ones that are taking the pitch to get us to qualify.

    Different players, different time.

    In the last campaign, we beat every top side except for England (and in that game we were the better side at Wembley) in the last group in the second half of the campaign when we played the right tactics with confidence.

    It's an incredibly young side that's only going to get better, with more quality kids coming through the youth in the next season or two.

    How well we do largely depends on Coleman now, Speed showed what we're capable of with the right tactics and confidence.

  • Comment number 47.

    What does everyone think about James Collins? You would think that a premier league starter would be preferred to a championship substitute (Blake) but i'm sure there was some reason why this was the case. He then pulled out of the Norway game so maybe was on the way out? Interesting to see where he (and Gabbidon for that matter) are in Coleman's plans.

    @23 - its very unfair on Toshack to cite one result from his entire time in charge. Two other results during the 6 years: slovakia 5-2 away win, 0-0 draw out in Germany.

    Vaughan is deserves much more credit than 'a decent squad player' - he is much more important than you make out. If this season so far is anything to go by, the midfield would consist of Ramsey and Allen.. and that midfield would be better balanced by adding Vaughan. Also think that the massive recent improvement was down to Ramsey coming back from injury (and eventually to full fitness) - soon as we got our best 11 out, we started winning.

    We can qualify for the next World Cup (anyone can from our group). We just need to keep all our players fit and happy to play.

  • Comment number 48.

    Vaughn imo is a good squad player that is in starting contention for the holding role with several other players.

    The point I'm making is he's good but - Ramsey, Allen, Bellamy and Bale are all top, top class players and we're incredibly lucky to have them.

    Vaughn and others that can operate in midfield, aren't close to that standard but, I agree, are very in important from the balance of the side's perspective.

    We tend to play a 5 man midfield - Vaughn is one of the contenders for the holding role with Ramsey and Allen in the middle and Bellamy and Bale on the flanks.

    Personally, if henley is quality and wants to represent Wales - we should look at putting him on one of the flanks with Bale through the middle.

    That would be a midfield with frightening pace on the flanks and upfront with great skill and creativity.

    As long as they work hard as a team and unit and we're organised and tight at the back (like the Swans) it has the makings of a side that can qualify and get results against top sides.

    Speed and his back room team has put the foundations in - Coleman needs to build the house now.

  • Comment number 49.

    I think it's a decent appointment.

    Coleman should adopt Speed's method and concentrate on the player management and front of camera stuff though, leaving the training pitch to Verheijen and Roberts. The three of them had the Welsh lads wanting to turn out for their country, had them working hard in preparation and playing some pretty attractive football. It was the dream ticket: the admired ex-player that could rally the troops, the unassuming (but well respected) Welsh coach who knew the set-up inside out and the precocious foreign coach who brought fresh ideas. The players obviously know how important all three were to our relative success but I think the supporters understand that too. The transformation on the pitch wasn't just down to fragile good form, but from root to branch reform.

    I realise that Coleman will want to come in and put his stamp on things, I don't blame him because he's the manager now, but I just worry that might mean he tramples all over a good set up too.

  • Comment number 50.

    @averageBBC_journalist...... Darcy Blake isn't 'mediocre'. He keeps James Collins out of the team and owned Rooney in the England game who didn't get a sniff and refused to swap shirts with Blake at the end.

  • Comment number 51.

    Chris Coleman is an excellent choice for Wales Manager - He has experience at prem level and he is WELSH. He is leading his nations football team and taking over after a superb turnaround by Gary Speed(RIP), I think he will continue where Gary left off and wish him the best in his new role. Well Done mate!

  • Comment number 52.

    As far as the CB's go - the only one I think that is or should be nailed down at the moment is Ashley Williams.

    Blake's come in and down great, J Collins is a Premier league defender but he always seems to mess up when playing for Wales whilst having stormers for Villa.

    That said, he needs to work hard keep his form up and try to force his may into the side and make the position how own.

    Turner of Cardiff - a beast by all accounts and very solid is another in contention.

    And, of course, we still have Danny Gabs who can come in and do a job and should be part of the squad at least, so good competition for places and it's upto one of them to go out a make the position their own and for the others to keep the pressure up.

    Same goes for Williams - he has to keep his form up he can get dropped too, even though he's should be the one CB at present that should be nailed down for a place.



    And, by all accounts we have a couple of quality CB's in the youth that could step up and make the position their own in a couple of years.

  • Comment number 53.

    #47 Yeah a bit unfair I guess to highlight that one result, although for me it was just an example of how low Wales sunk under him. Toshack was always in for a tough time but in reality 7 years into his reign we were less likely to challenge for qualification than when he took over, the excuse of Wales being 'in transition' wore thin. Speed inherited the same team and completely transformed it, we were stale under Tosh.

 

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