Wales v Azerbaijan: Experienced players have key role, says Ashley Williams

Ashley Williams EURO 2016 Captain
Ashley Williams captained Wales on their run to the EURO 2016 semi-final.
Euro 2020 qualifier: Azerbaijan v Wales
Venue: Bakcell Arena, Baku Date: Saturday, 16 November Kick-off: 17:00 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Radio Cymru & updates on the BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app, plus live text commentary

Defender Ashley Williams believes Wales' experienced players hold the key to qualifying for a second successive Euro finals.

Wales need to win in Azerbaijan on Saturday and then beat Hungary at home to have any chance of qualifying.

Williams was captain of the team that reached the semi-final in 2016 and is one of 10 survivors of that squad still involved.

"That experience will be invaluable," said the 34-year-old.

"I think the experience that we've got making a tournament, and missing out on tournaments, understanding what it takes to get there, it's for us to try and express that the best way we can really."

Wales drew with Croatia and Slovakia in October and even if they win in Azerbaijan and then beat Hungary in Cardiff on Tuesday, 19 November, will still have to rely on Slovakia dropping points in their remaining two matches.

"It's the same really as the last two games that we had," says Williams, "two difficult games and we felt like we needed to win both.

"We didn't, but we got two positive results so this is a similar camp for us."

Wales manager Ryan Giggs is confident he will be able to call on fit-again Aaron Ramsey for the first time in the current qualifying campaign.

He also hopes Gareth Bale can play a part despite not featuring for Real Madrid since taking a knock on his calf against Croatia in October.

Williams is confident even if some of the other class of 2016 are not available.

"We've been here before where Gaz (Bale) hasn't managed to play or Rambo (Ramsey) or somebody and someone normally steps up and does a good job," he added.

"Obviously we want all our players to be fit so the manager can select them. If not we do have enough talent throughout the squad now definitely for someone to come in and stake a claim for it."

Williams was an unused substitute in both October qualifiers.

He had been left out of Giggs' squad completely the previous month after being released by Everton in the summer, finding himself without a club.

Now established with Championship side Bristol City he is confident of getting his place back for the crucial games.

"I'm happy with my form and I know that the gaffer (Giggs) has a bit of a policy that if you're playing you'll play.

"So you know I'll be getting myself ready to play, hopefully I do for personal reasons, so we'll see as the week goes on."