Bale’s fitness worries, Brooks bags his second and Ramsey shows his worth to Arsenal
Several members of Ryan Giggs’ squad were in action on the weekend, playing their final club match ahead of the international break.
Wales take on Spain at the Millennium Stadium this Thursday night in a friendly match, before then travelling to Dublin to face the Republic of Ireland in the Nations League.
With the squad having been announced on Thursday, there will have been a few disappointed Welshmen looking to prove a point to Giggs and his backroom team.
Rambo Comes Out Fighting
Aaron Ramsey did exactly that, getting himself a goal and an assist for Arsenal in a 5-1 demolition of Fulham at Craven Cottage.
His performance on Sunday, a goal and an assist, will have certainly gone a long way to winning back some support, as well as putting some pressure on the club’s hierarchy to reconsider their negotiating stance. And if they didn’t get the message from his performance, the celebration following his sumptuous back-heeled flick into the bottom corner will have sent it loud and clear.
Brooks makes it two from two!
David Brooks was again on the scoresheet this weekend, netting his 2nd goal in a week for Bournemouth. Brooks, who only opened his Premier League account last week, swept home from close range after a lightning-fast counter-attack from the Cherries, who are enjoying an outstanding start to their Premier League season. Bournemouth currently lie 6th place in the table, and Brooks could yet prove to be a key player in what would be an unlikely push for European football qualification.
Bale’s fitness again in doubt
Unfortunately, one of the men who didn’t manage to gain some positive momentum this weekend was Gareth Bale. Having been initially given the all-clear after being taken off as a precaution last week, he was again replaced, this time in the 80th minute in Real’s 1-0 defeat at Alaves on Saturday.
He has still joined up with the Wales squad and is to be assessed by the medical team ahead of Thursday’s clash, with it looking likely that he will be rested with the Republic of Ireland in mind.
Bale will feel disappointed with these latest injury troubles, having started the season in good form for Real Madrid with three goals and two assists, as well as a goal and a solid performance for Wales against the Republic of Ireland in September.
Knocking on the door
Two hopefuls who didn’t make Giggs’ original squad were centre back Joe Rodon and winger Gwion Edwards, who came up against each other at the Liberty on Saturday.
Both players are yet to make their international debuts, with 25-year-old Edwards last making the squad during Wales’s Euro 2016 qualification campaign. Lampeter-born Edwards, who joined Ipswich Town from Peterborough at the start of the season, was returning to where he rose through the academy ranks before failing to make an appearance for the first-team. He put in a big performance upon his homecoming, heading home an equaliser in the 27th minute and generally causing the Swans problems with his trickery and creativity in a 3-2 win for the Tractor Boys.
He was up against Rodon, who continued his run at the heart of the Swansea defence with a solid display whilst also almost grabbing one himself, smashing a thunderous header onto the crossbar that would’ve drawn his team level. The Swans’ normally rock-solid defence will have felt disappointed to concede 3 goals, having only conceded 6 in their previous 11 matches before Saturday, with Rodon being key to this impressive defensive record.
Although Rodon was on the losing side on Saturday, he will have undoubtedly been the happier of the two men on Sunday, having been called up late to the squad to replace the injured Paul Dummett. However, Edwards could yet join up himself, as he’s on the standby list along with Wigan midfielder Lee Evans.
Kieron Freeman, one of Wales’ many forgotten age-graders, has quietly been putting together a brilliant string of performances for Championship leaders Sheffield United. His intelligent attacking play from right-back hasn’t gone unnoticed, with several tipping him to have been a not-so-surprising call-up to the squad.
His impressive performances have been backed up by this rather long-winded statistic: in a list of Championship players who contribute to the most chances created (based upon a direct assist, or a pass before a pass that sets up a direct chance), he came out 4th (with Lee Evans in at 5th). Not bad for a right back.
Pearson runs the show
Yet another exciting young attacking talent has been causing damage over the weekend, this time left-winger Sam Pearson. The 17-year-old left-winger has been in fine form this season, making several appearances for both Bristol City U18s and U23s.
It was the U18s he was in action for on Saturday, taking centre stage for them in an impressive 3-1 victory over Colchester United. The Wales U17s starlet opened the scoring on 27 minutes with a smart finish, before then being fouled in the area, leading to Tommy Conway doubling their lead. He then tucked away a 3rd from a tight angle 5 minutes later, giving City what turned out to be an unassailable 3-0 lead going into halftime.
Wales v Spain – Thursday, 11th October – 19:45 BST
Republic of Ireland v Wales – Tuesday, 16th October – 19:45 BST
(Featured Image: Jon Candy)