Euro 2012 qualifiers: Wales progressing well, says Gary Speed

Gary Speed
Wales have won three games under Speed

Manager Gary Speed has said there is plenty of work ahead of his Wales squad before the World Cup qualifying campaign begins next year.

Wales complete their Euro 2012 campaign against Bulgaria in Sofia and could finish third in the group if results go their way.

But despite a recent revival in fortunes, manager Speed has refused to get carried away.

"I still think we've got a way to go," said Speed.

"I think we've progressed really nicely. The players seem to have adjusted really well and know what their jobs are.

"But I think we've still got a little bit to do before we feel we are ready for the World Cup qualifiers.

"I'm quite glad we've got another 11 months or so before they start."

Wales have been drawn in World Cup qualifying Group C along with Croatia, Serbia, Belgium, Scotland and Macedonia.

And Speed says Tuesday night's game in Bulgaria will serve as invaluable experience before the new campaign.

Bulgaria replaced Wales at the bottom of Group G after Speed's side won 2-0 against Switzerland in Swansea last Friday.

"I think it's imperative that we don't get beat [and] that we take something from the game," added Speed. "It will be great if we could win the game.

"It's these kind of places we need to come and get results if we are going to be successful," said Speed.

"This is the perfect game for us in our development.

"Our home form is very important for the World Cup group. I think we need to be very strong at home.

"A lot of European nations are similar - they are very strong at home, so it will be extra difficult on the road and getting points."

With no players pulling out of the squad following the win over Switzerland, Speed has hinted he could name an unchanged side for the game at Sofia's Vasil Levski Stadium.

"We've got the same squad, same personnel available to us and it's great for continuation," said Speed.

"It is important we that we try and keep a settled and solid squad and we have the ability at this moment to pick an unchanged team.

"Whether we do that or not, we don't know."

Whatever Speed's decision, Craig Bellamy is set to feature in his first competitive Wales away game in over a year.

And Speed said his former Newcastle United team-mate can spearhead the national side for many years to come.

"As long as we look after him, Liverpool look after him and he looks after himself [then] I'm sure he's got many years left at this level," added Speed.

"Craig demands the best and he wants the best off everyone. He keeps everyone around him on their toes.

"If we're going to be successful that needs to happen. We can't knock off, we can't relax because we've had a couple of good performances.

"We've got to keep striving and moving forward and Craig's the ideal man to have in the squad and I'm delighted he's here."

Wales squad:

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), Andrew Crofts (Norwich City), David Edwards (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal), David Vaughan (Sunderland), Jonathan Williams (Crystal Palace)

Forwards: Craig Bellamy (Liverpool), Hal Robson-Kanu, Simon Church (both 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)