Blake a jack of all trades at Bluebirds
DARCY Blake is not sure yet whether his versatility is going to be a help or a hindrance in his football career.
New Tredegar-born Blake has made 11 first team appearances for Cardiff City, while he is in line to earn a fourth Wales Under-21 cap when they play Malta tonight at Wrexham’s Racecourse ground (7.30pm).
“I’ve already played full-back, centre-half, central midfield, right-wing – everywhere,” said Blake.
“It’s not too much of a problem now and in many ways my versatility can be great.
“But perhaps in the future it will be better to know which is my true position.
“I favour central midfield because it’s easier to get involved.
“You can get forward and link up with the strikers, while there is a lot to do defending when the opposition have the ball.
“For the moment, though I’m learning all the time and enjoying my football.”
Meanwhile Blake’s Cardiff clubmate Aaron Ramsey has been earmarked for a speedy elevation to Wales’ senior squad.
The 16-year-old has already bypassed the under-17s and 19s and will be in the under-21 side tonight.
Manager Brian Flynn believes he has a clutch of new faces who could soon be considered for senior honours, but it is Ramsey who is expected to achieve that ahead of his colleagues.
Flynn said: “Of all the new faces, Aaron has the potential to go into the senior squad very, very soon.”
Wales have recently seen two 17-year-olds, Gareth Bale and Lewin Nyatanga, handed senior opportunities. But Ramsey could become the youngest yet.
Flynn said: “I am not worried about his age one bit.
“He has the potential to be the quickest of the current under-21s to make it through.”
The need for fresh faces has been heightened for under-pressure senior boss John Toshack following the dismal display by his side in Cyprus on Saturday.
And a showdown meeting of staff after that match specifically drew up a list of potential youngsters for quick elevation.
Unfortunately, Flynn has lost Chelsea goalkeeper Rhys Taylor – one also earmarked for the future – from his squad with a groin injury, calling up former Swansea youngster Kyle Letheren – now at Barnsley – in his place.
Wales put up a good show in their first qualifier in France before losing 1-0, and Flynn is confident there are several young stars to catch Toshack’s eye.
He said: “The system is always evolving.
“There are always a new batch of youngsters trying to make the breakthrough, and we have several in this squad who will be interesting John soon.”
Flynn will field a side tonight that includes Ramsey’s Cardiff team-mate Chris Gunter, Swansea’s Joe Allen, Manchester City’s Ched Evans, Walsall’s Mark Bradley and Wigan’s David Cotterill.Cotterill and Gunter already have senior caps and all five could find themselves blooded after the final Euro 2008 qualifiers against San Marino, Republic of Ireland and Germany.
Wales under-21 squad: @R Taylor (gk, Chelsea), O Fon Williams (Crewe, gk), C Gunter (Cardiff City), J Jacobson (Bristol Rovers), N Taylor (Wrexham), R Wiggins (Crystal Palace), M Williams (Wrexham), R Williams (Middlesbrough), J Allen (Swansea City), M Bradley (Walsall), D Blake (Cardiff City), A King (Leicester), L James (Southampton), S MacDonald (Swansea City), A Ramsey (Cardiff City), D Cotterill (Wigan Athletic), C EVans (Manchester City), S Vokes (Bournemouth).