Bale avoids injury scare, Vokes header beats Bluebirds and Roberts continues to impress
It was another week for Ryan Giggs to cast an eye on his upcoming Wales squad, which is announced today.
A number of his players have been in action, making a name for himself, all aiming for a spot in his squad for the games against Ireland and Spain.
Several Welsh players impressed in what was an action-packed week, with the Carabao Cup 3rd round in midweek followed by a full Premier and Football League schedule over the weekend.
There was plenty of drama involving the various established Wales internationals in action.
Centurion Delight for Vokes
Burnley striker Sam Vokes, making his 100th Premier League appearance in familiar surroundings, celebrated the landmark with a trademark header to sink Cardiff City.
It will have come as a relief for Vokes, who has been struggling to hit the back of the net so far this season, with his only other goal coming away at Aberdeen in the Europa League.
Bale gets the all-clear
Real Madrid and Wales fans alike will be breathing a sigh of relief upon the news that Gareth Bale will be fit and available for selection this weekend.
Bale has been in unstoppable form in La Liga this season, notching 3 goals and 2 assists in his 6 appearances so far, but he was taken off at half-time during the Madrid derby on Saturday with a suspected muscle tear.
However, the MRI results show that no damage has been sustained to the groin as first feared, meaning he should be available for selection for Wales’ upcoming internationals vs Spain and Ireland.
Elsewhere, Joe Allen produced a solid display in midfield for Stoke City, despite missing a howler from 6 yards out. Ashley Williams also played in the same fixture, committing two errors that directly led to both of Rotherham United’s two goals in the 2-2 draw.
Knocking on the Door
Amongst those pushing for a starting place in Ryan Giggs’ starting XI, several put their hands up for selection with outstanding contributions to their team’s respective victories.
“The Welsh Torres”
Harry Wilson scored a superb free-kick for Derby County against Manchester United. The 21-year-old Liverpool-loanee is being touted by many as the ‘Welsh Torres’, comparing their respective footballing abilities as well as their uncannily similar looks.
Not only that, but he treated the Old Trafford faithful to the five-fingered salute (referencing the five European Cups Liverpool have won compared to Manchester United’s two), which is exactly what Torres did after scoring at the same location for Liverpool back in 2009.
The free-kick itself, which put Derby on level terms before they knocked the English giants out on penalties, is being described as ‘Bale-esque’ due to the way he struck the ball with the top of his instep before it swerved into the top left-hand corner. The fact he’s left-footed also helps!
“Goalscorer in waiting” opens his account
David Brooks scored his first ever goal in the top flight, curling home a left-footed effort in off the crossbar to open the scoring in Bournemouth’s 2-1 win over Crystal Palace.
Brooks has been in fine form so far this season, becoming a key player under Eddie Howe following his £11.5million move from Sheffield United last summer, leading the Cherries boss to describe him as “a goalscorer in waiting”.
He also became Bournemouth’s youngest ever Premier League goalscorer at 21 years and 84 days old, on a day that they moved up to 7th in the table.
The Roberts’ stake their claim
Leeds striker Tyler Roberts is yet another young Welsh attacker making waves up north, firing the Whites back to the top of the Championship with a superb effort from 20 yards out.
That goal makes it three from five so far for the 19-year-old, who has gone from strength to strength this season after making his Wales debut vs the Republic of Ireland in September.
Wales are currently blessed with a plethora of young attacking talent, and Giggs has a job on his hands to decide who will line up alongside Bale in the attack.
23-year-old right-back Connor Roberts also opened his scoring account for Swansea City, weeks after scoring his first ever senior international goal for Wales against Ireland, helping the Jacks to a comfortable 3-0 win over QPR at the Liberty.
Roberts, who was making only his 14th appearance for the club, has only been back in Swansea for 9 months following several loan-spells over the Severn.
His recent good form will certainly be giving Giggs a selection headache, with Gunter also getting a run of games for Reading in the last couple of weeks.
There is plenty of young Welsh talent playing every week, who have represented Wales at age-grade level but are yet to break into the senior squad.
Hat-trick delight for Matondo
The most impressive from the weekend was undoubtedly winger Rabbi Matondo, who featured for Manchester City U23s against Swansea City. This was a fixture involving several other Welsh starlets, namely Joe Lewis, Aaron Lewis, Brandon Cooper, Oli Cooper and Liam Cullen, all lining up in the white of Swansea City.
Aaron Lewis, the hugely talented right-back, surprised everyone by scoring the equalising goal for Swansea. However, winger Matondo stole the show, scoring an excellent and clinical hat-trick to seal a 4-1 victory for the Citizens.
Burton continues to impress
Robbie Burton is another one of those talents. The 18-year-old Arsenal U23s midfielder has been in good form so far this season, building on impressive displays for Arsenal U18s last term (particularly in their FA Youth Cup Final run) which resulted in him being rewarded his first professional contract.
He’s adapted to life in the U23s well, despite being slightly underdeveloped physically, and possesses outstanding close control and wide-ranging passing ability.
This was particularly prevalent in their 2-1 win over Leicester City on the weekend, as he bagged an assist after a clever chip for Tobi Omole to finish.
He followed this up with a coolly taken penalty, sending the Foxes keeper the wrong way. He’s already been asked to train with the first team by new head coach Unai Emery, and will continue to catch the eye if he maintains his current form.
(Featured Image: Steindy)