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Harry Wilson took responsibility for breaking out of Gareth Bale’s shadow and ensuring Wales stays on track for major tournaments.
The boss, Rob Page, stated that he had a conversation with Wilson last summer where he informed him that he was no longer just a regular member of the team, but a key player for Wales.
Wilson contributed to both goals in the September match against Latvia, and followed that up with two goals in the impressive 2-1 win over Croatia, who had reached the semi-finals in the World Cup last month.
Wales’ two victories propelled them to the second spot in Group D, securing their automatic qualification for Euro 2024 if they earn six points in their remaining two matches against Armenia and Turkey. The first match will be played away on Saturday, followed by a home game against Turkey three days later.
Wilson, a forward for Fulham, expressed his appreciation for Wales’ top scorer Bale, who retired from football in January, stating that he had been a valuable asset on the field during crucial moments.
“As an offensive player, it’s important for me to step up in those crucial moments. Fortunately, I was able to do just that during the Croatia game.”
“I am aware that I was not the first choice on the team lineup due to Gaz being at Real Madrid and ‘Rambo’ playing for Arsenal and then Juventus.”
They consistently performed well in high-level football matches and it seemed like they delivered in each game.
I was dissatisfied with the situation because I wanted to be actively involved, but now that some players have departed, I believe there is an opportunity for me and I believe I have risen to the challenge.
On the day marking 10 years since he became Wales’ youngest male player at 16 years and 207 days, Wilson earned his 50th cap in a match against Croatia.
Wilson, fondly referred to as ‘The King of Corwen’ by supporters of the Welsh national team, has also taken on a leadership role outside of the game.
He stated that it was not only Gaz who left, but also Joe (Allen) and a few other experienced players who were responsible for maintaining high standards.
I have transitioned from being one of the younger members in the team to becoming one of the more senior ones at a rapid pace.
“We recently had a small meeting with ‘Rambo’, Ben Davies, Connor Roberts, Ethan Ampadu, and myself during our last camp.”
This is a group of young men who are committed to maintaining high standards every day. They prioritize ensuring everything is in order off the field, allowing us to excel on it.
I will not be the one giving commands on the field, but I prefer to guide in a different manner by doing things correctly. When playing, I aim to lead with the ball and create opportunities.
Once again, Wales will rely on Wilson in their quest to qualify for their fourth major tournament out of five. They also hope to redeem themselves for their unexpected 4-2 loss to Armenia in June.
He stated that they are aware of their mistakes in the previous game and have a plan to rectify them on Saturday.
“We definitely owe them a debt of gratitude. Their performance in the game was exceptional, but we acknowledge that we were not playing at our usual standards. If we can replicate our performance against Croatia, I am confident that we can achieve a positive outcome.”