Cardiff manager Malky Mackay challenges Darcy Blake

Darcy Blake in action against England's Wayne Rooney
Blake won his fifth cap in Wales' defeat against England

Manager Malky Mackay hopes Darcy Blake can kick-start his season with Cardiff City after his impressive performances for Wales.

Blake has started only one Championship game for the Bluebirds this campaign after injury disrupted his pre-season.

But Blake played in Wales' games against Montenegro and England and impressed in the 1-0 defeat at Wembley.

"I thought he played very well and I'm delighted for him," said Mackay.

"It's about Darcy coming back, kicking on and learning from his time against international teams and how international teams prepare and train.

"If he does that he'll kick on from here."

With Aston Villa's James Collins suspended, Wales manager Gary Speed selected Blake as Ashley Williams' central defensive partner against Montenegro

Blake retained his place for the England fixture and club boss Mackay believes his versatility makes him an important member of the squad.

The 22-year-old has played in a number of positions in defence and midfield since making his Cardiff debut in 2006.

"He's someone I see as being a player that can be adaptable," said former Scotland defender Mackay.

"That's a good thing to have, to be able to play in a number of positions because invariably it gets you in the team more often than not."

Blake's hopes of securing a regular spot in Cardiff's line-up have been hampered by a shin splint problem which he sustained during pre-season.

The Cardiff boss says Blake has worked hard to regain his fitness and is now pushing for a place in the staring line-up.

"I think Darcy's frustration was that his fitness levels when he came back and the injury he got stalled everything," added Mackay.

"He came back to pre-season and immediately got a knock which put him behind training wise.

"If you miss a chunk of pre-season [and] unless it's addressed then you're playing catch up throughout the season.

"When he came back from the knock it was addressed and he's someone I hope will really learn from good people around him in terms of how to look after yourself.

"For the last couple of weeks he's got some good fitness training and he's injury free so he's part of the squad again."

Striker Rob Earnshaw was another Bluebirds player who featured for Wales at Wembley on Tuesday.

Earnshaw, a second half substitute for Steve Morison, missed an open goal with 13 minutes left but Mackay is confident the striker will bounce back.

"He's been through periods where he's missed goals and missed chances but he's got the confidence in his own ability to come back and do it again," said Mackay.

"He was in training the following day and we had a laugh about it and he then went and banged in five goals.

"Robert is an experienced international footballer that scores goals and has proven that through his career.

"The guys that are like that miss plenty, but they are in the right place at the right time to score plenty as well.

"They've got a confidence about them no matter if they miss they know they are going to score after that.

"He knows he will score again for Wales and he'll score again for us."

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