Wales star hero Aaron Ramsey believes the likes of Daniel James, Harry Wilson, Tyler Roberts and David Brooks have got what it takes to produce “moments of magic” during Euro 2020.
The Juventus midfielder, 30, played a prominent role in Wales’ Euro 2016 run to the semi-finals, alongside current Wales captain and long-time international team-mate Gareth Bale.
Now, he has publicly backed a quartet of team-mates, believing they have the potential to shine during this year’s European Championship, pushed back from 2020 to this summer due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Asked who can step up, the Welshman – who has allayed fitness fears after sitting out of a training session – told a press conference on Thursday: “I think we have many players who have different qualities who can step up and produce a bit of magic. We have Dan James, Brooksy, Harry Wilson, Tyler Roberts.
“A lot of these players all have great qualities and are capable of producing moments of magic. It’s an exciting time to be a Welsh fan, to be playing for Wales.”
Wales begin their Euros campaign this Saturday – June 12 – when they face Switzerland in Baku. It will be the first of three group stages matches, with clashes against Turkey and Italy to follow before the knockout stages begin.
“We’re obviously still growing as a team and now this will be another experience for a lot of these players to take forward into the future. I think we have a great balance in the team and hopefully come Saturday we’re all on the same page and ready to go.”
As for compatriot Bale, Ramsey said: “I think he’s feeling good. He’s a very important player for us but we have threats all over the park now with other players that can hurt teams.
“It’s going to be important for us all to be firing and ready to go. The boys are all really looking forward, it’s been a long wait for this tournament to go ahead so we’re itching to get that going.”
Ramsey made sure to pay tribute to former Wales manager Gary Speed, who died in 2011, when asked about the change in the Wales set-up from 10 years ago – when Wales were ranked 117th in 2011 – to now.
Reflecting on a decade ago and prospects of playing at a major tournament, Ramsey said: “We were a million miles away and probably would never dream of this, even though we knew we had good players for Wales, we’d come through U21s, we knew we had players capable of producing and helping the national team qualify for something again. In them days, it seemed a million miles away.
“When Gary Speed came in, everything changed, from off the pitch, sports science, nutrition, food. Everything like that was put in place for us to to the next step and that was the target when he came in, to qualify. That was the biggest thing, that he put everything in place for us to then be able to express ourselves and grow as a nation.”
As for the opener against Switzerland this Saturday, the aim is to put three points straight on the board and give Wales the best chance of recreating their 2016 heroics by progressing into the knockout stages of the tournament, which is being staged across Europe.
“Of course. We go into any game wanting to win the game. It’s up to us to do the talking on the pitch,” he added.
“We have the players who can hurt teams. We have a good mixture and we are hungry for success again. It’s going to be difficult, we are under no illusions, we have a tough game against the Swiss to start.
“What we did last time, nobody ever expected us to do that. Some people might be expecting a similar sort of thing again. We know that we’ve got a lot of players who haven’t experienced this before. We have expectations on ourselves but we’ll just take it one game at a time and see if we can recreate something similar.”