Wales news

Williams surprised by Wales captaincy

October 11, 2012
By ESPN staff

Wales captain Ashley Williams has spoke of his surprise at manager Chris Coleman's decision to give him the armband and said predecessor Aaron Ramsey had congratulated him.

Ashley Williams
EmpicsAshley Williams is the Wales captain

Williams, 28, received the honour after Coleman decided a switch was necessary ahead of Wales's World Cup qualifying double-header against Scotland on Friday and Croatia on Tuesday.

The Swansea defender had previously captained his country on four occasions, but after Ramsey had been named as skipper at the age of 20 last year, he felt he would not get another opportunity.

Asked whether he had believed the armband would come his way again, Williams said: "Probably not, to be honest, because I thought Aaron was doing a good job. I was just concentrating on trying to play my best for Wales.

"He [Coleman] asked me if I wanted to do it - he didn't tell me I had to. He called me and said he had spoken to Aaron. Obviously I was over the moon and he just said we would have a chat when we got to camp.''

Williams said he had had a conversation with Ramsey and that there were no hard feelings between the pair.

"I have spoken to Aaron and he said congratulations," he said. "We kind of laughed and that was it really - no big deal. We get on fine.''

Wales head into the Scotland clash in need of a result as they sit bottom of Group A, having lost their first two fixtures - a 2-0 home defeat to Belgium followed by a humiliating 6-1 defeat in Serbia.

Those results extend Coleman's losing streak since taking over as manager to five games, but Williams has stressed that the players are fully behind their boss.

"After the results I think you are always going to get criticised like that, especially him - being the manager, it is obviously going to fall on his shoulders," he said. "But I think all the boys really like him, and we have enjoyed working with him.

"We really want to win for him as well. I think we have kind of let him down on the pitch and we would like to put that right.''

Scotland have opened their campaign in disappointing fashion with two home draws - 0-0 with Serbia and 1-1 with Macedonia.

The results led to manager Craig Levein facing criticism at his side's performances, but Coleman believes both managers can handle the pressure.

"Craig is a big boy like me,'' hesaid. "We know as soon as you walk in the door, especially if it is an international job, there is more scrutiny on the games because there are fewer of them and less time to get things right.

"It is a nation looking at you. Craig can handle that the same as I can. Once you start looking at the negative side of things, it stops you making decisions and it is finished for you.''

With Wales pointless in group A and already four points behind leaders Serbia, Coleman knows how important it will be to pick up a result on Friday.

"In terms of us doing a bit of damage in this group, we have to get a win as quickly as we can," he said. "There is a game tomorrow night, so why not then?

"Scotland are coming down and they are not going to lie down for us - they are under their own pressure."