New Wales skipper Joe Ledley believes that his young colleagues are "starting to grow" into international players. Ledley skippered the team in Baku to a commendable 1-0 win over Azerbaijan in a FIFA World Cup™ European Zone Group 4 qualifier on Saturday.
It was a hostile night, with the home side not bothered about dishing out the rough stuff. But Wales defended magnificently and produced some good passing football when they had the chance. For Ledley, it was proof that there is a youthful future for his country.
The Cardiff midfielder said: "Everyone is starting to grow up as players. It is not easy as youngsters being put into a higher level, but we have shown we can handle it.
"We aim to get as many points as we can now," said Ledley. "We have Russia next and we must believe we can beat them.
"Against Azerbaijan we worked really hard. Nobody gave us a chance, but what we have to do is keep this level and continue to bring in the younger players.
"We have won what for everyone is the last game of a very long season." He added: "Now we aim to carry this form into next season, with a good result to hang onto.
"We have big players to come back into the squad, and when they are ready and fit we will have a good side," said Ledley.
We are a very young side, but we are showing that we can live up to expectations.
"We are going to give the last three games in our group our best shot. We can catch Finland in third and it is important that we produce the form now to make sure our ranking points are not damaged.
"We are a very young side, but we are showing that we can live up to expectations," he said.
Match winner Edwards, now looking forward to the Premier League with Wolves, said: "It was a great team performance, particularly in the second-half when we had to dig in and stop them playing.
"It was important that we got the three points after the disappointing defeat by Finland in March which really damaged our chances of qualifying," he said.
"We played very well in the first-half, we kept the ball and put them under pressure. In the second period it was more difficult, but we stuck to it and got a very good result in the end," said Edwards.
"We were very aware that we were a very inexperienced squad and that we needed to show the fans back home what we were capable of.
"We showed we could handle games like this," he said. "We are now playing for the future, and we have great belief that one day we will have a strong enough squad to get us to a major finals."
He added: "If you are going to do that, we have to produce results in very difficult places like Baku.
"The defeat we suffered against Finland in March really upset people and gave us the incentive to go out and produce a far better performance and result," said Edwards.
"The last week has seen us beat Estonia and now Azerbaijan, it means we can produce good performances and we must now take them into qualifying campaigns," he said.
"We can still finish third in our group. We have the Russians next at home and then two away games. We must be looking to win all three to really boost our status."