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wayne hennessey wales goalkeeper

What a weekend for Wales players – so many I struggled to narrow my list down to three.

Hopefully they’ll have given the national manager Ryan Giggs one or two headaches.

Tom Lawrence with his second in 2 games and what an absolute belter of the free-kick it was as well. A bright moment in an otherwise poor Derby County performance as they ended up being hammered 4-1 at home to Leeds United.

Gareth Bale scored again and is looking so so good now the cult of Ronaldo has set him free, but we’ll be looking more closely at our Gaz later in the week. We covered number 9s last week, so obviously Hal Robson-Kanu popped up with a wee reminder in West Brom’s thrilling 4-3 win at Norwich.

But I’ve chosen two senior stars and one surprise name for this week’s Wales Watch, and we kick off Big Wayne.

Wayne Hennessey Wales goalkeeper
Wayne Hennessey, Wales goalkeeper – image:


When Vicente Guaita arrived at Selhurst Park in the summer many predicted that Big Wayne would be on his way.

But a man of the match performance later and no-one is thinking that right now. Six saves in total, the best from Mitrovic and the most stylish probably from Ryan Sessegnon’s late header. Although that did cost me Fantasy Football points. Cheers Wayne.

Inspired by the competition, the 31-year-old is in his absolute prime and will continue to be crucial to Wales and Ryan Giggs over the next couple of campaigns.

Danny Ward is talented, but a few months in Scotland and a season in the Championship doesn’t mean he’s ready to challenge Hennessey, in my opinion.

Unfortunately he looks likely to be number 2 at Leicester, and I think that actually puts him below the likes Adam Davies at Barnsley.

Indeed it’s a bit worry that anything might happen to Wayne because Chris Maxwell’s not playing at Preston either, so keep on keeping on big man.

James Chester Wales defender
James leaps like a salmon in the friendly against Panama at the Cardiff City Stadium – image:


Another man who will be crucial to Wales over the autumn is the Aston Villa captain. Chester has become Mr Reliable for Wales. Barely does his performance level drop below a 7 and with Ashley Williams’ star on the wane and Brentford’s Chris Mepham’s on the rise, a steady head is needed to see us through this transitional moment.

Chester again showed he’s the man to be Wales’ rock this weekend. Impressive in his tackling, his organisational skills are second to none and quite frankly he should be playing in the Premier League.

Chester’s header put Villa in front on Saturday in their last-gasp 3-2 win over Wigan Athletic, and he was singled out for more praise by his manager Steve Bruce who, if nothing else, should be a great judge of centre-halves.

When we face the Irish set-piece bombardment, (you know, when they decide they actually might attack rather than just sitting on the edge of their penalty area?), and when we face the clever movement of the Danes, Chester will need to be at his best.

If it weren’t for Gareth Bale, Ben Davies & Joe Allen I’d go so far as saying the 29-year old could be pulling the armband on for country as well as club.


Swansea City in crisis. Flogging off the family silver to balance the books, or at least that’s the owners take on things. Transfer deadline day left the club with one senior centre-back but out of crisis comes opportunities.

And by God did Joe Rodon make the most of it. Hailing from Llangyfelach, a Swans season ticket holder and having joined the club’s academy as a kid, the 20-year old showed his class in a 1-0 win against Preston.

Joe is a regular with Wales U21s. He always handled himself physically in the games I saw him play at that level, he reads the game well and has good pace.

His loan spell at Cheltenham Town last season was a steep learning curve. Used to being physically strong, I’m told by a coach at the League Two club that he probably had a bit of a shock at that level.

The difference between League Two and the Championship is that, although the intensity is higher and you still need to be physically strong, Joe would have found his technical qualities called on much more.

In Graham Potter you get the feeling he’s got a manager who will take time to improve him. Will Rodon be knocking on the door for Giggs’ first squad? Not yet. But the confidence he can take from his Swans debut will hopefully mean it won’t be too long before he gets the call.

And that’s Wales Watch for this week. Make sure you stay across us later this week when Jamie Kemble, who is something of a La Liga expert, takes a look at his crystal ball and what’s in store for Mr Bale this season.


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