Youthful Wales see off Estonia
Two worrying injuries to key players took the shine off Wales' encouraging 1-0 win over Estonia at Llanelli. Wales fielded the youngest side in their history and it was their oldest player, Nottingham Forest's Robert Earnshaw, who scored the first-half winner from the penalty spot. But injuries to key players Jack Collison and Manchester City striker Ched Evans will need to be assessed by the Wales medical staff on Monday in London.
Manager John Toshack will then take his youthful squad to Baku on 2 June to prepare for next Saturday's 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ qualifier with Azerbaijan. Collison suffered a slight recurrence of the knee injury that has kept him out for ten weeks until his return for West Ham United in the last two weeks of the season. And Evans has a muscle problem in his back that forced him off in the final minutes.
Toshack said: "We do not think either of [the injuries] are serious, but we will assess them both again when we meet up in London on Monday for the flight to Azerbaijan."
Wales will train at Bisham Abbey on Monday and Tuesday before a late evening flight to Baku, with Toshack hoping Collison and Evans are fit enough to travel. He said: "Many of our lads have been out of training for a few weeks now, and our lack of fitness showed in the second half.
"We certainly needed this run-out ahead of the World Cup game, it was important," said Toshack. "Our fitness levels were not good, but it was nice to get a game in and to register a win."
But Toshack accepts that the match in Baku will be an eye-opener for the youthful Wales squad. He said: "It will be interesting to see how they cope because it will be a hostile place and very hot.
"I have never fielded such a young side as that, certainly not at club level. I would have gone out and bought half a dozen players by now," said Toshack. "We will find a match that will be a good character builder for them all."
Toshack gave three more teenagers - Joe Allen, Andy King and Simon Church - their debuts against Estonia. He said: "All three did well when they came on, and I was particularly pleased with Church who showed a lot of skill and effort in the 20 minutes he had."