South West Wales

Swansea City's Ashley Williams turns down David Cameron invitation

Ashley Williams
Image caption Ashley Williams said he could not miss the Gary Speed memorial match

Swansea City defender Ashley Williams has turned down an invitation to join David Cameron for a Downing Street reception on the eve of St David's Day.

The function at Number 10 clashes with a memorial match for Welsh manager Gary Speed which will see Wales play Costa Rica in Cardiff.

The player said he was surprised to be asked to attend the function to celebrate the patron saint of Wales.

But Williams said there was no way he could miss the game.

International duty

Mr Cameron hosts a saint's day event each year at Whitehall and this year it is St David's turn.

A cross section of leading figures from Wales has been invited.

But Williams told his Premier League club's official website he was unable to attend.

"I was a bit surprised to receive the invitation," he said.

"It was really nice to get something like that, particularly with it being for St David's Day.

"But I will be on international duty that night with Wales as we play Costa Rica.

"It's a really important game as it is Gary Speed's memorial match, so there was no way I could miss that."

Williams will join fellow Swansea players Neil Taylor and Joe Allen in the Welsh squad for the first game since Chris Coleman was named the new national manager.

Speed died aged 42 in November at his home near Chester.

A host of Welsh musicians will perform at the Cardiff City Stadium ahead of Wednesday's memorial game including the Super Furry Animals, Bryn Terfel and Only Men Aloud.

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