Euro 2020 qualifying: Croatia venue 'difficult' for Wales - Neil Taylor

Chris Gunter in action against Croatia's Ivan Perisic
Wales lost 2-0 against Croatia in a World Cup qualifier in Osijek in 2012
Euro 2020 qualifiers: Croatia v Wales
Venue: Stadion Gradski, Osijek Date: Saturday, 8 June Kick-off: 14:00 BST
Coverage: Listen on BBC Radio 5 live, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru & online; live text updates on the BBC Sport website; watch highlights on BBC One Wales, 23.10 BST

Neil Taylor says Euro 2020 qualifying opponents Croatia have made it as difficult as possible for Wales by opting to play in Osijek.

Croatia hosted Azerbaijan in Zagreb, but have opted to play Wales in Osijek, over 170 miles away.

Wales have played twice at Stadion Gradski, which has a capacity of just under 19,000, and where the Croatians have never lost a qualifier.

"It's a bit difficult to travel to and get there," Taylor said.

"Speaking to [Aston Villa team-mate Lovre] Kalinic he said they almost do it deliberately and it's a bit of a pain for teams and it works quite well.

"These are the real proper European games, away in these countries, where a lot of these young lads will learn what it's all about."

Uefa confirmed Croatia's choice as Osijek to host the game following an inspection in March.

Wales suffered defeats there in a friendly in 2010 and a World Cup qualifier in 2012,

Full-back Taylor has fond memories of Stadion Gradski, having made his senior Wales debut there in a the May, 2010 encounter in which he came up against playmaker Luka Modric.

"I got 10 minutes and ended up with a swollen ankle next day after trying to smash Modric, make an impact, and done myself," he recalled.

"I'll go a bit more conservative this time. I was a young lad trying to make my way and make an impact.

"He's a fantastic player, the career he has gone on to have since is unbelievable. Croatia have accumulated a lot of very good players. It will be a difficult game.

"They haven't lost at home for many years. But records are there to be broken and this team is definitely capable."

Taylor reported for Wales duty after playing in Aston Villa's Championship play-off final win over Derby County at Wembley, which secured promotion to the Premier League.

The former Swansea City player established himself as a regular under Villa boss Dean Smith, who succeeded Steve Bruce in October 2018.

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Wales' Will Vaulks speaks of the hardship he's faced to get to the international stage

"Ever since the new manager came in it has looked up for me and I enjoy my football a lot under him as a lot of the lads are," Taylor said.

"It's always nice to have something at the end of the season which is an achievement.

"Obviously since the turn of the year we did unbelievably well.

"That's the key for us, we got players back fit, we enjoyed playing under the manager and we knew with the squad that we had that if we could just get going we could almost be a runaway train and start winning football matches.

"I think the sky's the limit for Villa."

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