Ledley baffled by Commons snub and admits it’s a blessing for Wales
JOE LEDLEY has admitted to mixed emotions over the absence of his close friend and Celtic team-mate Kris Commons from this week’s pivotal World Cup qualifier in Cardiff.
Welsh midfielder Ledley is poised to win his 42nd cap for his country on Friday night when they face a Scotland squad which manager Craig Levein remains convinced can do without the services of Commons.
While Ledley shares in the widespread bemusement over the in-form Commons spending the international break at home once more, he believes it improves Welsh prospects of securing a desperately needed first win in Group A.
“From a selfish point of view I am very happy Kris is not going to be involved because he’s a very good player,” said Ledley. “As a friend, I am devastated for him because he’s been superb all season for us.
“He’s been one of our better players, for sure. We’re not too sure why he hasn’t been picked but that is down to the manager. The way he is, it won’t hurt him and I’m sure that if he keeps playing the way he is, then it won’t be long before he’s back in the squad.
“He’s been fantastic for us this season, he really has. If you give him the ball he will hurt you, he’s a player who can score from almost anywhere. He works his socks off for the team and I was surprised he wasn’t named in the Scotland squad this time. It’s only a matter of time before Kris is called back up. His league form has been fantastic and I’m not sure why he’s not there. But it’s good news for us.”
Ledley missed Wales’ first two qualifiers last month through injury, a 2-0 home defeat at home to Belgium followed by a humiliating 6-1 reversal in Serbia. Manager Chris Coleman, who has lost all four of his matches in charge since replacing the late Gary Speed at the start of the year, is already under intense scrutiny.
“Obviously we have been unhappy with the start we’ve made,” added Ledley. “It was always going to be difficult going down to ten men against a team like Belgium.
“Serbia was not a good result or performance either and hopefully we can learn from those games and improve for Scotland.
“We are under a little bit of pressure but we need to pick ourselves up and be ready to go again. The manager is looking for his first win and as players we are desperate to get it for him. He is a good manager and we look forward to meeting up and training under him. We want to achieve that all-important first win and we want to achieve it against Scotland.”
Ledley may not be facing Commons this week but he is relishing the prospect of a midfield battle against his club captain Scott Brown and is also intrigued by the prospect of another all-Celtic showdown between Scotland winger James Forrest and Wales full-back Adam Matthews.
“If we’re all selected and playing, you could have James Forrest against Adam Matthews on one side and myself and Broony in the middle,” he said. “I’ll need to get inside Broony’s head.
“We play each other every day in training so we know what our strengths and weaknesses are. It’s going to be a really good battle. If it’s a 50-50 and the ball is there to be won, we’ll go in and try and win it. That’s the type of players we are.
“James Forrest has been superb for Celtic this season. He could cause us problems and while the Welsh coaching staff will know all about him I’ll still be telling the lads to keep a close eye on him. He’s one of the best young players I’ve seen in a long time. He can change a game because he’s so quick. I’ve not seen a player as quick as him in a long time.
“If he runs at Adam, you never know what could happen. He reminds me a bit of Gareth Bale at a young age. Obviously Bale is a bit different in the way he plays, but James sets himself such a high standard. He can create from nothing and hurt teams with their pace.”
Ledley’s only previous outing against Scotland was in Wales’ 3-0 win in November 2009 which spelled the end of George Burley’s managerial tenure. It is a fixture with an added edge for the 25-year-old since his move from Cardiff City to Celtic in the summer of 2010.
“With me living in Scotland now, it’s an extra special game when Wales play Scotland,” he added. “It’s always been like a kind of derby for us. The games against Scotland are always special and hopefully it will be a sell-out.
“We’ve done well against Scotland of late, we’ve scored a few goals too. I managed to do pretty well against them in the past and hopefully that can continue.”
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Saturday 25 May 2013
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