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Taylor eager to get started

05 Sep 2014 12:16:54

Taylor eager to get started

Wales defender Neil Taylor admits real excitement is building as Chris Coleman's squad prepare to step out on the road to Euro 2016.

Manager Coleman recently described qualification for a major tournament as 'the holy grail' with Wales having failed to do so since the 1958 World Cup finals in Sweden.

But with Real Madrid 'galactico' Gareth Bale - the world's most expensive footballer - and Arsenal's Aaron Ramsey in their ranks, as well as a healthy sprinkling of solid Premier League performers, there is a real sense Wales can finally end the long wait for a major finals appearance at an expanded 24-team European Championship.

Wales could not have asked for a kinder start with Tuesday's trip to Andorra, who are ranked 199 on FIFA's world table, before tougher tests against group favourites Belgium and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Ahead of the new campaign Swansea full-back Taylor says there is a feel-good factor in the squad right now.

"There is a real buzz around the place at the moment," he said.

"We need to try and deliver. Without putting too much pressure on ourselves, we want to have a real go.

"We've come off the back of watching the World Cup, and seeing people in major tournaments, and we are all positive about getting off to a good start.

"Notoriously, we have never got off to a good start in a campaign, but we need to do that to give us a platform."

Taylor knows Wales cannot afford to make any slip-ups in Andorra as Coleman's men try to re-connect with supporters who have stayed away in recent years.

The days of filling the 72,500 Millennium Stadium in Cardiff have been over for some time with qualifiers moved to the Cardiff City Stadium and the Liberty Stadium in Swansea.

"We want to pull the crowds back in," said Taylor.

"Cardiff get a full stadium, Swansea get a full stadium, but we can't seem to pull them in for Wales games with some of the best players in the world, and we need to do that.

"We need to get the results to make people want to come back and watch, and get the kids in and everything.

"We need that support, but we need to give them something to shout about.

"(Millennium Stadium) It is such a great stadium. It's a shame we don't play there for our national team, but obviously it doesn't make sense to if you don't get the crowds.

"Ultimately, that's where we want to be, but we know there is a long way to go to that.

"It is down to us to get us back there and if we are doing well and we are playing the bigger teams in the group, we might be able to do it."

Andorra was hit by heavy rain on Thursday and some parts of the capital Andorra La Vella were under water, including the controversial 3G pitch at the national stadium which was only passed fit for purpose by UEFA on Wednesday.

More rain is forecast in the Pyrenees principality over the next few days but an Andorran Football Federation spokesman told the Press Association on Friday: "The pitch conditions are fine now.

"There was water on the pitch but this was not normal rain and I don't see any problems with the game next week."


PA

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