On-song Morison does his homework

23 March 2011 07:30

Wales striker Steve Morison claims new manager Gary Speed is calling the tune - on and off the field - this week.

Millwall frontman Morison is hoping to impress Speed enough in training to win place in the side to face England in Saturday's eagerly-anticipated Euro 2012 qualifier at the Millennium Stadium. Yet is not just footballing ability Speed has been testing this week, but his players' knowledge of the national anthem, 'Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau'.

Londoner Morison, who qualifies for Wales through a grandparent, said: "We had one of our first sessions on Sunday, we sung the national anthem. I am learning it the phonetic way - you say the English words but they sound Welsh! I am giving it a good go but I don't think anyone expects us to know it word by word just yet."

He added: "We watched the rugby players do it against England - it gets the crowd right behind you.

"It is something we are all starting to do. It is about getting the passion, the Welshness, the belief back."

Morison has made a remarkable rise to international football after Northampton sold him to non-League Bishop's Stortford in 2004.

He went on to impress with them and Stevenage before earning a move back into the Football League with Millwall.

He then caught the eye during the Lions' successful League One promotion campaign last year and was called up by former Wales boss John Toshack. That meant turning his back on the country of his birth but it was an opportunity that could not be turned down.

Morison, still awaiting his first Wales goal after four appearances, said: "I never dreamt of playing international football. I just wanted to play professional football and when I dropped out of it, it was the furthest thing from my mind.

"But it's been a fairytale time, the last 18 months to two years, and to score against England would be a great end to the story. Of course I want a lot more than that, though. It's about knowing what you can do and backing your ability."

Source: PA

World Cup Group G

Pos Team Pld Pts
- Belgium 0 0
- Panama 0 0
- Tunisia 0 0
- England 0 0