Captain Ben Davies hopes to bring a touch of Spurs sparkle into Wales camp
Ben Davies has taken over the Wales captaincy hoping his club Tottenham’s rise to the top of the Premier League can boost the Dragons’ Euro 2024 ambitions.
Davies replaces the injured Aaron Ramsey as skipper for Wednesday’s friendly with Gibraltar and the vital European Championship qualifier against Croatia in Cardiff on Sunday.
The long-serving Tottenham full-back has been used by new Spurs boss Ange Postecoglou as a substitute so far this season but the 30-year-old says he has arrived for international duty in good spirits.
Davies said: “Players want to be in winning teams and right now I’m lucky enough that I’m in a squad where we are picking up good results and doing well.
“It’s about bringing that intensity and enthusiasm and the stuff that is working into the training camp this week.
“The Gibraltar game is important to us as a group that we get minutes together on the field.
“Hopefully we pick up another good result that gives us confidence going into the big game against Croatia.”
Cardiff midfielder Ramsey misses out this week with a knee tendon injury and is also set to be sidelined for the final Euro qualifiers against Armenia and Turkey next month.
It is a big setback for a Wales side who are also without Davies’ Tottenham team-mate Brennan Johnson through injury and in need of a positive result against Croatia to keep automatic hopes of qualification for next summer’s final in Germany alive.
“Aaron’s a great player and to be without him is definitely a blow,” said Davies.
“It gives the boys who have come in his absence before another chance to show what they can do and we’re excited for the games.
“We believe in the younger players we’ve got, the players coming through and those that have come through in the last few years.
“You can call it a transitional period, but I believe we’ve got players ready to go right now.”
On the captaincy, Davies – who has done the job previously, most recently in the goalless friendly with South Korea last month – added: “It’s something I’m incredibly proud to do.
“I’ve always wanted to do. I’ve done it before but it’s nice going into the games knowing the situation we’re in. I’m ready for it.
”I’ve been seen as one of the leaders in the group for a while now, so it doesn’t feel too different.
“I’ll just be myself, stick to the values I’ve got, and hopefully get the boys going for the games.”
The first meeting between Wales and Gibraltar at senior men’s level marks the return of the Dragons to Wrexham’s SToK Cae Ras.
The ground staged Wales’ first home game in 1877 and is often referred to as the spiritual home of Welsh football.
But Wales have only played there once since 2008 – a friendly against Trinidad and Tobago in March 2019.
Davies said: “It is something that has actually been playing on the boys’ minds for a while.
“We are very appreciative as a group of the efforts of the North Walian fans to come to Cardiff to watch games, especially in midweek and the late ones. We know it is a tough, long journey at times.
“But we are incredibly grateful to get the chance to come up north and play at Wrexham and in front of our loyal fans. We can’t wait to play in front of them.”
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