Earnshaw takes on Brazil tonight

CHRIS WISE Norwich City striker Robert Earnshaw looks certain to get an extended run-out when Wales take on Brazil at White Hart Lane tonight in a prestige friendly.

CHRIS WISE

Norwich City striker Robert Earnshaw looks certain to get an extended run-out when Wales take on Brazil at White Hart Lane tonight in a prestige friendly.

The in-form frontman, who has scored four goals in five appearances for the Canaries this season, was limited to a cameo appearance from the bench on Saturday evening as John Toshack's side lost 2-1 to the Czech Republic in their opening European Championship qualifier.

But he looked lively after coming on as a late substitute and could be handed a dream start alongside Craig Bellamy against the South American giants if Toshack opts to fight fire by fire by switching to a two-man strike-force, after playing just one up front at the weekend.


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Even if Earnshaw does miss out on a place in the starting XI he is still expected to get a decent game against Ronaldinho and co, with the manager poised to make plenty of early substitutions this evening.

Fellow Canary Carl Robinson is almost certain to start the game, but could be rested in the second half in a move that would go down well with Norwich boss Nigel Worthington with City's Coca-Cola Championship clash at Coventry only five days away.

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Toshack refuses to accept his Wales side will be cannon fodder for Brazil when the teams clash tonight.

After the way the Brazilians outclassed Argentina 3-0 in Arsenal's Emirates Stadium on Sunday - and with Wales boss Toshack planning to use several of his youngsters in the match - the fear is a heavy defeat could be staring the Welsh in the face.

Instead Toshack has faith in the clutch of Welsh youngsters who could face Ronaldinho, Kaka, Robinho and Edmilson in north London.

The game - with 20,000 tickets sold and a 30,000 crowd expected - could not produce a bigger contrast, although Wales have their own two stars in captain Ryan Giggs and Craig Bellamy.

But Toshack seems certain to give 17-year-old Gareth Bale, the Southampton starlet, a place in the starting line-up and will not flinch at throwing the likes of David Cotterill (18), Lewin Nyatanga (18) and Joe Ledley (19) into probably the biggest examination of their lives.

Toshack has injury doubts over Mark Delaney (knee) and Danny Gabbidon (groin) but plans to "push my kids into the game, even if I will have my eyes tightly closed doing it!"

Toshack said: "When you play Brazil there is a danger that even the best can be turned over, whoever you are. You can play three goalkeepers and still be battered.

"I am not bothering myself about being cannon fodder, we have to get positives from every game we play. We have got to try to look for improvements and to move ourselves along.

"I am looking for options and competition for places. I have a lot of confidence in these youngsters, I know some of them are not ready yet and you can't expect them to be.

"But the more they play against quality, the sooner they come into our team, the quicker they will be ready.'

He added: "It is a big game for the youngsters. Knowing each of them as I do I don't think they will be fazed by who they are playing against.

"Cotterill has got his move to the Premiership and I couldn't be happier for him. He knows where he is going, while Ledley is a sensible lad and pushing on at Cardiff where he's playing a lot of matches.

"It does not concern me how they cope, they'll be all right. But I must admit I will be shoving them on with my eyes closed and hoping!"

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