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Fulham midfielder Davies enjoys international friendly

last updated Wednesday 26th March 2008, 10:23 AM
Simon Davies
Simon Davies
Western Mail THERE may be several club managers – and players – who view international friendlies as an irritant, but the current Wales captain is certainly not among them.

When Simon Davies leads his country out against Luxembourg at Stade Josy Barthel tonight, he intends to savour every moment of his 50th Welsh cap.

“I’m lucky to play for Wales in the first place,” said Davies. “But to get 50 caps – not many people have done that.

“It’s something I can always look back on with a lot of pride.”

“When you win your first cap, it’s crazy to start thinking about getting to 50 caps,” he said.

“But in all honesty, I should have had mine a year ago.

“I’ve probably missed about 15 games through injury.

“But I’ve always been determined to get as many caps for my country as I could, and when I got to 35, I thought to myself that I really wanted to get there.”

The 28-year-old from Haverfordwest made his debut against Ukraine in 2001.

Wales manager John Toshack is in no doubt why Simon Davies has won his caps.

“He’s a model professional, especially since he’s been made captain,” said Toshack.

“He can be well pleased with achieving 50 caps.

“He’s led the side by example against sides that figure higher than us in the rankings.

“At the moment, he’s the most experienced player we’ve got.

“With all the youngsters around him, he sets a super example.

“He had a spell 12 or 18 months ago where he was getting a bit down because of injury, and he had a shin problem he couldn’t sort out.

“It was affecting his performances and he wasn’t playing as often as he would have liked.

“But he’s moved back to London and he’s playing regularly now.”

Toshack added, ”Simon is a very good player.

“Within the game, people rate him highly and his attitude hasn’t gone unnoticed.

“We’re pleased to have him.”

Davies already has plenty of memories to look back on, but is more concerned – and excited – by the immediate future of the Welsh team.

“The first cap is nice because you always dream of doing it,” he said.

“My first goal in Croatia was a great night, and the goal against Italy, but to be captain for my 50th cap is extra special.

“I’ve been fortunate to get a few results as captain, and hopefully we can get another win tonight.”

The chance to escape the stress of a relegation battle is something of a relief for Davies.

“It’s a tough time at Fulham at the moment,” he admitted. “We’re fighting for our lives and we’ve got some big games coming up against teams around us.

“It’s a bit of a tricky time for the game to be, and I can understand why players may not be happy about playing friendlies at this stage of the season.

“A lot of players are either fighting for league titles, Champions’ League places or, like me, trying to stay in the Premiership.

“You don’t want to get injured in these games.

“But when you do come away and play for your country, you’ve got to be 100 per cent focused and do your best.

“It’s something you look forward to, and it’s a welcome distraction at the minute.”

Davies may have reached his half century in seven years, but he concedes he is highly unlikely to be joining David Beckham in the 100-cap club.

“I’ve just started thinking about it now to be honest,” he said.

“By the end of the next campaign, I’ll be 30.

“Once that’s over, I’ll probably look at things again and decide whether to carry on or call it a day.”

Source Western Mail
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