2018 World Cup: Wales captain Ashley Williams has no retirement plans

Ashley Williams
Ashley Williams celebrates his goal in the Euro 2016 quarter final against Belgium
World Cup qualifier: Wales v Moldova
Venue: Cardiff City Stadium Date: Monday, 5 September Kick-off: 19:45 BST
Coverage: Live on BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, BBC Radio 5 live and the BBC Sport website and app.

Wales captain Ashley Williams has no intention of retiring from international football as he prepares to lead his country in their 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign.

His England counterpart Wayne Rooney, 30, has said the tournament in Russia will be his last.

But 32-year-old Williams hopes his summer move from Swansea City to Everton will prolong his career.

"I would like to think so. I am not retiring today," he said.

"I am enjoying it and have no immediate plans for that.

"I love coming away and playing for Wales. I want to try and keep that going for as long as possible."

Wales manager Chris Coleman has said he will step aside after the 2018 World Cup campaign, which starts with Monday's match at home to Moldova.

However, Coleman has no intention of leaving Wales for the vacant managerial role at Hull City.

A sell-out crowd is expected at Cardiff City Stadium as Wales aim to build on their success at Euro 2016, where they reached the semi-final of a major tournament for the first time.

Wales dejected players
Wales' players at the final whistle of their semi-final in Euro 2016, which they lost 2-0 to Portugal

Coleman says he is "desperate" to follow that historic campaign by qualifying for the World Cup, and Williams is of the same view.

"It's important we don't keep going on about it but use the experience from there to move into the next campaign, knowing what's required to qualify," he said.

"I'd use the same word as the manager in being desperate. Having tasted it, we would love to get back there. We want that elation that we had this summer. We want that again in our careers.

"We have had a couple of videos in meetings. The first one we got together and had a video about the Euros just to relive a couple of those memories and relive what it was like. It was important to acknowledge what we did and it was also important to put that to bed a little bit. Use the experience of it and move on."

Learning from Koeman

Bale, Williams, Collins, training
Ashley Williams at a Wales training camp for the first time as an Everton player

Williams' switch to Everton, reluctantly accepted by the Swans, means he has started only two games this season, but the former Stockport centre-back says he is "fine and ready" to face Moldova.

He is also relishing working with his new manager at Goodison Park, Ronald Koeman, who enjoyed a distinguished playing career as a defender with Barcelona and the Netherlands, having won 78 international caps.

"I am enjoying playing underneath him. As I said when I moved here he is one of the best centre-halves who ever played," Williams said.

"I am going to be a sponge to learn off him and try and take in as much as I can of his knowledge.

"When you go to a new place and you are the new boy you have to try to impress everyone and get your head down and start from scratch."

Top Stories