David Edwards braced for Wales midfield competition

2012 European Championship Qualifying Group G - Wales v Switzerland

Venue:
Liberty Stadium, Swansea
Date:
Friday, 7 September
Kick-off:
1945 BST
Coverage:
Full commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru & online. Live text commentary online. Watch live on Sky Sports 3
David Edwards
David Edwards made his Wales debut against the Republic of Ireland in 2007

Wolves midfielder David Edwards admits he faces a battle to retain his place in the Wales side.

Edwards is back for the first time in 12 months for the Euro 2012 qualifiers against Switzerland and Bulgaria.

And having recovered from a back problem, the 25-year-old is well aware competition for a midfield starting spot is fierce.

"There's a lot of competition there. "[It's] a lot stronger than it has been in recent years," he said.

"That's due to players coming through and making a claim. I think a lot of players have done that.

"There's a lot of Premiership players in there now as well with the likes of Joe Allen and Crofty [Andrew Crofts] coming in.

"For me personally it's just about being back in the squad. I'll train hard and if I get some minutes I'll be delighted.

"I feel fit and I feel strong so it's just competitive minutes I need now. I've started to get them at Wolves so hopefully I can get some here this week."

Wales complete their Euro 2012 campaign at home to Switzerland at Swansea's Liberty Stadium on Friday before facing Bulgaria in Sofia the following Tuesday.

Edwards has missed the last seven internationals due to a back problem and admits his time out with injury was a frustrating period.

He scored in his comeback for Wolves, a 5-0 Carling Cup win over Millwall, and also featured in their 2-1 defeat at Liverpool.

"It's been a long seven months since I picked up the injury," said Edwards.

"There's been lots of lows in that time.

"There are dark periods when you're injured especially for such a lengthy period as well.

"The manager [Gary Speed] rang me quite a lot and I came to watch a few games so it kind of kept me going.

"It's nice to have been kept involved because it would have been horrible to have gone through those seven months and not really feel a part of it.

"There were points in the injury when I was nearly fit and then I took another setback and they were hard to deal with.

"But I've been training for nearly six weeks so I feel good now and there are no other issues with the back."

Edwards' last appearance for Wales was the 4-1 defeat against Switzerland in Basel last October.

Brian Flynn was in caretaker charge of Wales for that game but was overlooked as John Toshack's permanent successor.

The Football Association of Wales appointed Speed as the new manager and Edwards says the national side are developing under the former captain.

"It's nice to be back and good to see the progress that the squad's made in that time," added the former Shrewsbury and Luton player.

"I haven't played or been part of a squad that the new manager's picked because of injury.

"I was really looking forward to the trip once I was named. It's very different but I think it's a good difference. It's been really good to be part of this.

"The training is a really good tempo and everything's structured and professional."

Edwards says Wales will be looking to build on last month's performances against Montenegro and England.

The 1-0 victory over Montenegro in Cardiff was Wales' first in Group G and they won plaudits despite their 1-0 defeat against England at Wembley.

"I think it was key that we got those performances at that time," added Edwards.

"It's key that we need to follow it up this week as well, especially at home on Friday night against Switzerland.

"It's a game we've really got to look to win and get three points and hopefully we can do that."

Wales squad to face Switzerland and Bulgaria

Goalkeepers: Wayne Hennessey (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Boaz Myhill (West Bromwich Albion - on loan at Birmingham City)

Defenders: Darcy Blake (Cardiff City), Chris Gunter (Nottingham Forest), Adam Matthews (Celtic), Neil Taylor (Swansea City), Ashley Williams (Swansea City), Lewin Nyatanga (Bristol City)

Midfielders: Joe Allen (Swansea City), Gareth Bale (Tottenham Hotspur), Jack Collison (West Ham United), Andrew Crofts (Norwich City), David Edwards (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Andy King (Leicester City), Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal), Hal Robson-Kanu (Reading), David Vaughan (Sunderland), Jonathan Williams (Crystal Palace)

Forwards: Craig Bellamy (Liverpool), Simon Church (Reading), Steve Morison (Norwich City), Sam Vokes (Wolverhampton Wanderers).

Stand-by list: Lewis Price (Crystal Palace), Neal Eardley (Blackpool), Ashley Richards (Swansea City), Rhoys Wiggins (Charlton Athletic), David Cotterill (Swansea City), Andy Dorman (Crystal Palace), Jermaine Easter (Crystal Palace), Ched Evans (Sheffield United)

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