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Speed targets finals appearance

06 Sep 2011 09:30:11

Speed targets finals appearance

Gary Speed can make history with Wales on Tuesday night but he insists he is far more interested in leading them to their first major finals since 1958 than ending a their 34-year wait for a win at Wembley.

Victory over England in the European Championship qualifier at Wembley would forever secure Speed a place in Welsh footballing folklore. However, it is history of a different sort the Wales manager is seeking as he looks to manoeuvre his side into a position to qualify for the 2014 World Cup.

Recalling his country's past glories against England, Speed said: "It something that I remember as a kid, the times when we beat England. It was not that many, granted, but you remember them. We remember the 4-0 at Wrexham and 1-0 at Wembley."

He added: "Because it doesn't happen that often then you do remember and it is a chance to create a bit of history. But I think there are more important things on my agenda than creating history."

Reaching the next World Cup looked well beyond a Wales side that lost their opening four Euro 2012 qualifiers, all but costing themselves a place at next summer's finals.

But Friday's impressive victory over the previously-unbeaten Group G surprise package Montenegro demonstrated the true potential of Speed's young squad.

"I think if we do beat England, I think it'd be fantastic for everyone," he said. "Within the context of the group, it might not mean that much, but in the context of us getting ready for next year, it would mean a great deal, and I think it'd be fantastic for the players if that would happen. It's not going to be easy. It's going to be really, really tough."

Key to Wales' chances are stopping the rampant Wayne Rooney, who netted for the seventh time in the last four games when he helped himself to a brace against Bulgaria on Friday.

Speed said: "We have obviously looked at that and ways of minimising his effectiveness but it is going to be difficult because of the quality of player he is.

"I wouldn't like to be a centre-half playing against him, to be honest, because of the areas he goes into. And when he does go into those areas, his ability on the ball is fantastic."


PA

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