Neil Taylor: Euro 2016 run has forced Wales to adapt style of play

Neil Taylor
Neil Taylor won his first Wales cap against Croatia in 2010
World Cup qualifier: Republic of Ireland v Wales
Venue: Aviva Stadium, Dublin Date: Friday, 24 March Kick-off: 19:45 GMT
Coverage: Live on S4C, live commentary on BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru & BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app, plus live text commentary

Wales defender Neil Taylor says their Euro 2016 run has forced them to adapt their style of play in World Cup qualification.

Chris Coleman's side won their opening Group D game 4-0 against Moldova but have drawn their other three games against Austria, Georgia and Serbia.

Group leaders Republic of Ireland await Wales in a crucial game on Friday.

"Teams want to beat us. We're a team people respect and play differently against," Taylor told BBC Wales Sport.

"I don't think we've struggled with it. For starters we were the top seed in the group so that makes a massive difference.

"We have to find the answers now sometimes against teams who won't come out and attack as much."

Wales' trip to France for the 2016 European Championships was their first competitive international tournament since the 1958 World Cup.

Taylor believes their performances since they reached the semi-final at Euro 2016 show they will not have to wait so long before reaching another tournament.

"There's definitely an element that we have look at the games differently but this team is capable of adapting," the Aston Villa full-back added.

"I think we've shown that well so far considering the qualifiers came so soon after the Euros. We should use that as motivation to go to another one [tournament]."

'Show 'em how it's done'

Liverpool's teenage forward Ben Woodburn was selected for the trip to Dublin and Taylor says it will be good to breed a new generation of talent in the Wales ranks, to follow in the footsteps of Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey.

Taylor continued: "Hopefully he'll learn off what we've been doing and the camaraderie in the team and how we perform together and train for games.

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Wales boss Coleman's Irish connection

"He'll get used to all of that, which is what we need. We need the young lads to see how we do it. They've obviously seen us have success but they haven't seen it first hand, how we work on a day to day basis.

"It's great experience or young lads and see where the bar is at for the future."

Taylor also feels third-placed Wales, who are unbeaten in Group D, cannot afford to lose to Martin O'Neill's Republic side who top the group.

"A win would put us in a great position going forward into the summer," Taylor said.

"But I think we definitely need to get a result there of some sort.

"This team has shown before that we're capable of getting a result but we also respect how good their team is as well.

"A Republic of Ireland win would see them stretch away a little bit and it would not really be in our hands.

"As long as we can keep it into our hands going into next season then this group will always fancy themselves."

Forward Tom Lawrence is so far the only Wales player to have pulled out of the Aviva Stadium game because of injury.

Manager Coleman's squad includes Real Madrid's Bale and Ramsey of Arsenal after both players returned to action following injuries.

"We need to have a completely fit team to qualify," Taylor said.

"If you're missing two or three members for one or two games that can make a massive difference, there's no room to manoeuvre.

"Aaron's one of our bigger players, he thrives on the bigger stage and thankfully he's fit after a couple of injuries as well.

Neil Taylor
Neil Taylor has made eight appearances for Aston Villa since his move from Swansea City

"It's great to have Gareth fit after that period over December and January [when he was injured] where he was able to rest for us.

"He's probably in the top three in the world so it's great for us but bad news for the Republic of Ireland and if we can have everybody fit to face them then it will be a big boost."

Taylor left Swansea City after six-and-a-half years to join Villa in January, in a deal which saw Jordan Ayew move in the opposite direction.

"I feel like I have made the right decision moving here and I'm glad I've taken the jump," the former Wrexham player added.

"The club is a massive club but they have made me really welcome.

"There's been quite a few new lads who have come in at the same time which has made it a little bit easier for me and I've settled in really well."

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