T&T’s Saudi Arabia-based defender Daneil Cyrus has accepted a challenge by teammate Sheldon Bateau to embrace the coming international friendly with Wales at the Racecourse Stadium in Wrexham and has pledged to be tip-top shape for the encounter, March 20.
With Gareth Bale likely to be leading the Welsh attack as they prepare for a Euro 202o qualifier against Slovakia, Cyrus will have to be in prime condition as he squares off against one of the leading forwards in the game today.
“The game against Wales is a big test for most of the players, especially some of the younger guys in the group. Right now I am anxious and just trying to keep fit and focused for this one,” Cyrus said.
“To face Bale is a massive test for me as a centre-back because we all know Bale is a world class player. It’s a great opportunity for us to go out and show that we can compete. We will go into the game without any fear although we will show them respect. We respect Wales and some of their players, but we will not allow ourselves to be intimidated,” Cyrus added.
“Football is on the day and we are working towards going out and giving a good show. It’s just for us to enjoy the game and enjoy the moment, knowing that we will be coming up against world-class players. I’m really excited for the match especially knowing we will be playing at a venue where former players like Carlos Edwards, coach Dennis Lawrence and others have graced during their careers,” Cyrus noted.
Meantime, Wales' coach Ryan Giggs revealed on the weekend he had a debrief with some of his players in London, ahead of their preparations for the Euro qualifier.
In a home game last year September, the Welsh players produced a vibrant display of the attacking football which epitomised its coach as a player.
They swaggered past the Republic of Ireland, winning 4-1 in an exhilarating and clinical performance. Yet, in their most recent match, the Welsh lost to Albania, a team 42 places below them in the world rankings. Giggs told the Irish Times yesterday, “It is difficult having such a long break. That’s the tough part about international football. But I keep in contact with the players and yesterday I got the lads together for a little debrief in London and to make sure we’re looking forward to the [Euro 2020]qualifiers in March.”
He added “When it’s September, October, November, you’re on a roll, but this gap between games is big. You can see why some managers miss that day-to-day contact. The difference is that I was never a permanent club manager. I’ve gone straight into international football."
The Welsh will clash with Slovakia in their opening match of a qualifying group that includes 2018 FIFA World Cup finalists Croatia, Hungary, Belarus and Azerbaijan.
“We need a good start against our main rivals because, after Croatia, I would say it could be between us and Slovakia. They have a new manager but they’ve got talented players. Marek Hamsik stands out. He just broke the goalscoring record for Napoli, overtaking Diego Maradona. So this first game against Slovakia is a big one,” Giggs added.