Kevin Ratcliffe urges Wales 'patience' under Gary Speed

2012 European Championship Qualifing Group G - Wales v Montenegro

Venue:
Cardiff City Stadium
Date:
Friday, 2 September
Kick-off:
1945 BST
Coverage:
Full commentary on BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru & online. Live text commentary online. Watch live on Sky Sports 2
Gary Speed
Gary Speed made his Wales debut against Costa Rica in 1990

Former Wales captain Kevin Ratcliffe believes manager Gary Speed will need more time at his disposal to transform a side at its lowest world ranking.

Wales have lost four of their five games since Speed took charge in December 2010 and are pointless and bottom of Euro 2012 qualifying Group G.

Speed names his squad for Wales' September double-header with Montenegro and England on Thursday.

"He's been given a little bit more time than other managers," said Ratcliffe.

"Which I think he's going to need. I think with Gary, people are quite patient.

"They've seen the job he's got in hand, the inexperience that he's got to deal with."

Wales have lost their first four qualifying games for the first time since the World Cup campaign of 1968-69.

Sam Ricketts
Bolton defender Sam Ricketts is set to miss Wales' September qualifiers

Having dropped to a record low 117th in the Fifa world rankings, Wales now face both Group G's pace-setters.

Wales host unbeaten Montenegro in Cardiff on Friday, 2 September with the visitors level on points with leaders England.

Then Speed's side visit Wembley on Tuesday, 6 September to play England who have not lost at home in eight competitive matches.

But Fabio Capello's men were held by Montenegro and Switzerland in their previous two qualifiers in London.

Wales are expected to be without Sam Ricketts for their next qualifiers as the Bolton Wanderers defender continues his recovery from Achilles surgery.

Wolverhampton Wanderers midfielder Dave Edwards (back) and striker Sam Vokes (ankle) are doubtful for Wales.

But Speed hopes Aston Villa centre-back James Collins and Norwich City midfielder Andrew Crofts, who missed Wales' 2-1 defeat against Australia earlier this month, will be available after featuring for their clubs at the weekend.

Ratcliffe, the former Wales and Everton defender, predicts a difficult game for Speed's side against Montenegro.

"Montenegro are no pushovers," said Ratcliffe. "They're a surprise international team over the last two, three years.

"They've shown results haven't been flukes. They're a good organised side with good quality players. It's going to be difficult for us."

Ratcliffe believes Speed needs to find the right system to accommodate captain Aaron Ramsey.

The Arsenal midfielder was substituted at the interval against Australia after a subdued first-half performance.

"I think he'll be a bit more effective for us if he's playing a little bit deeper," said Ratcliffe.

"But in the games he played under Gary, he seems to have played further forward.

"I think the quality Aaron's got we've got to find a system and players to play around him that actually suit him.

"He's quite unique. We've never had a player like him playing for Wales before in that midfield area."

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