John Toshack heaped praise on his young Wales players after their impressive 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ qualifying victory over Azerbaijan. The away win, Wales' first in the group, was achieved without ten senior players and with a side almost entirely of under-21 players. The team produced a performance to warm the heart of manager Toshack on what turned out to be a bitterly cold night.
"There was so much to be satisfied with," said Toshack. "Considering the problems we have had building up to this game, it was a very pleasing performance and result.
"We were missing so many players and some of the lads who played have been out of training virtually for five weeks," he said.
David Edwards got the first-half winner and there were young heroes all over the pitch. Captain Joe Ledley led by example, Edwards was outstanding alongside his skipper and at the back Ashley Williams, Craig Morgan and Lewin Nyatanga withstood everything thrown at them.
Toshack said: "I don't want to pick out any player, they were all excellent. But Simon Church on his full debut gave us everything he had. He ran and worked all night and can be very happy with his display.
"Overall the team did very well. There were a lot of tired legs out there at the end, some of them could barely run after the effort they had put in," he said.
"But there are a lot of better sides than us who have had a lot of trouble in Baku. Azerbaijan have improved considerably over the last five years and nobody hammers them these days.
"We had a small handful of fans here who had paid a lot of money to follow us, and they deserved a result like this," said Toshack.
"I was more than happy to celebrate with them at the end, the team has done them proud."