Maguire: Wales not there to make up numbers

Ashley Williams, right in action against Northern Ireland Picture: Brian Little
Ashley Williams, right in action against Northern Ireland Picture: Brian Little
Scott Giles  Photography by Habibur Rahman

Genius who studied in Havant is off to Oxford University with five A and A*s under his belt

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The News continues it’s countdown to Euro 2016 with an interview with former Pompey and Wales defender Gavin Maguire.

It’s wonderful for Wales to be at their first major tournament since 1958.

But I don’t want the important thing for them to be that they got there, and that’s the job done.

It’s going to be a party atmosphere out in France. It’s been so long since we have been to a major football event and the supporters will be out to enjoy it.

It could be easy for that mentality to become the case with the players, too.

Well, actually, we fully deserve to be in France – so let’s go and compete.

You couldn’t have wanted for a bigger game than the one against England.

England are the perceived powerhouse and all the pressure is on them.

That could be a benefit for us, and the lads go into that game with nothing to lose.

There is constant banter going around at the moment that all we care about is beating England.

We can’t let the situation be if Wales beat England and lose the other games that’s a successful competition.

There’s a chance to get off to a flying start against Slovakia.

If you don’t win that one it puts us in a tough situation.

But three points there really lets the shackles off going into the England match.

When you are looking at players who we’re going to rely on, there are the obvious ones in Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey.

Just maybe there is a good chance they’ll come to the fore in this tournament.

But I think Ashley Williams is going to be key.

Williams has been absolutely immense for the Welsh team – a bit like the Leicester centre-halves have been for Claudio Ranieri this season.

He’s not a John Stones type of player. He’s not going to try to be too clever on the ball and lose it.

He does his job – defend – and gives the manager Chris Coleman the chance to build around that.

Maybe he’s not the first person who springs to mind, but you’ll very rarely see Williams have an off game.

I don’t think Williams will look out of place at the Euros.

Hopefully, Wales will have an attacking star in the future.

My son, Toby, plays for the national under-15 side and normally features in the number 10 position.

But, at the moment, there isn’t an obvious striking danger man at senior level.

England aren’t taking a lot of players who would be first choice at other countries.

But Wales have a goal threat from a lot of other areas of the pitch, and that will be important.

I work in a hair salon nowadays and will be watching the game there. There could be a few dodgy haircuts dished out at the weekend!