Unexpected chance for Tudur Jones
Norwich City midfielder Owain Tudur Jones is keen to seize his chance after being handed a late call-up to the Wales squad for this week's Carling Nations Cup matches in Dublin.
The out-of-favour City player, who only made two appearances for the Canaries last season, has not played for the national team in two years but has benefited from the raft of injuries and withdrawals which have affected Gary Speed's squad.
Tudur Jones spent the second half of the season on loan at Brentford as Canaries boss Paul Lambert used other midfield options, but is now in line to make his first appearance for the national team since winning the last of his four caps as a substitute against Azerbaijan in Baku in June 2009 during a 2010 World Cup qualifier.
With manager Gary Speed keen to share the load of two matches in three days, starting against Scotland tomorrow and followed by Northern Ireland on Friday, there is every chance he will get a run out.
'I thought I was on my summer holidays and enjoying a bit of golf and to get the late call was very unexpected, but it is certainly something to look forward to,' said the 26-year-old.
'Gary Speed and his staff are trying to stamp their own authority on the squad and trying to mould the squad into the way they want it to perform.
'It's enjoyable to be a part of that and just to see it because sometimes when you are looking from the outside you don't necessarily see all the details. It's nice to be involved in this new set-up. There is enough young talent and potential within the squad to create something pretty special over the next few years.'
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Tudur Jones' club-mate Andrew Crofts was not selected because of a thumb injury while Wolves midfielder David Edwards joined Lewin Nyatanga and Ched Evans on the sidelines with injury when he pulled out on Sunday, while Championship play-off finalists Ashley Williams, Joe Allen, Simon Church and Hal Robson-Kanu are all unavailable.
Craig Bellamy, Speed's most experienced player, is a major doubt after a hamstring injury forced him to miss Cardiff's play-off semi-final second leg defeat to Reading while Coventry's Freddy Eastwood is struggling and Celtic's Joe Ledley is also unlikely to feature. It leaves the Wales boss well below strength in terms of selection as he goes looking for his first win in charge having lost the first match of the Carling Nations Cup against the Republic of Ireland and then been defeated by England in a Euro 2012 qualifier.
However, it does offer Tudur Jones and fellow late call-ups Craig Morgan, Andy Dorman and Jermaine Easter the chance to impress.
'It is an opportunity to see what everybody can do – not just the games, but getting a good week's training under our belts and a bit of togetherness, which is important for a small nation like Wales,' added Tudur Jones.
'The result is more important in the football industry but we'll be trying to pull out a couple of good performances as well.'