Coleman hails Belgium depth


Published: Monday 8th June 2015 by The News Editor

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Wales manager Chris Coleman believes Belgium’s “conveyor belt” of talent saw them pull off their gamble in the French capital.

Coleman was in Paris on Sunday night to see Euro 2016 qualifying rivals Belgium beat France 4-3 in a wonderful exhibition of attacking football which was only slightly spoiled by two late home goals.

Dries Mertens and Jan Vertonghen both limped away from crunching French tackles but Coleman said the Red Devils’ decision to risk injuries just five days before their vital European Championship qualifier in Cardiff was down to the depth of talent at their disposal.

Wales, by contrast, resisted the financial incentive of a warm-up game ahead of the Group B table-topping clash with Coleman shelving plans for a proposed home friendly with Northern Ireland.

“They can have a friendly because if they lose one or two it is not a problem, as they have a conveyor belt,” Coleman said.

“They don’t have to worry about that. That is the way they prepare because it is best for them, but it is not necessarily what is best for us.

“We wanted a different route and have gained time on the (training) pitch with the players to prepare them for this game.

“We have lost money by not having a friendly but sometimes you have to make sacrifices.

“My message was that we keep talking about qualifying and what we are prepared to do for it, so we have done that and had eight days preparing for Belgium instead of four. It is a big advantage for us.”

Wales have already lost defenders James Collins and Ben Davies to injury as well as midfielders Jonny Williams and George Williams, and there are a few players carrying niggles in camp.

But Coleman expects Paul Dummett, James Chester and Aaron Ramsey to be fit for Friday night’s showdown at the Cardiff City Stadium and he says his players are fully prepared for the task of meeting the second-best team in the world, according to the FIFA rankings.

“From day one we have let them know what is coming in the challenge ahead,” said Coleman, who was speaking at an event with Vauxhall, the Wales team sponsor.

“If you are going to qualify, sooner or later you have to play a great team.

“You have to compete and get something and this is where we are.

“They are second in the world for a reason and won’t change the way they play. Why should they? It is working.

“They will be expansive, they will attack, they will start quick and they will look to control the tempo of the game.

“They have the players to do that but I don’t need to tell my players what is expected.

“Our international season has been good and we want to continue that.”

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Published: Monday 8th June 2015 by The News Editor

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