SINCE the turn of the last decade, football in Wales has given us some of the best memories possible.
Both Gary Speed and Chris Coleman (and of course the likes of Osian Roberts ad later Ryan Giggs) helped breathe new life into the national team as we qualified for Euro 2016 and eventually beat all the odds to reach the semi-finals.
Since then, optimism on the footballing front in Cymru has continued to grow amongst fans and players alike, especially when you consider the fantastic crop of young players we’ve got making that step up at the moment. From Ethan Ampadu to Rabbi Matondo, there’s plenty of promise in the team.
But what about those that haven’t had the call-up from Giggs as of yet? Here, I pick out just five who could be on that place to Baku and Rome come June …
Christian Doidge (Hibernian)
One of the most in-form Welsh players right now, Doidge has been a fantastic player for Hibs this season.
His career progression has been nothing short of sensational, as he’s gone from banging in the goals in the Welsh Prem with Carmarthen as recent as 2014 to becoming a goal machine at Fores Green, where he hit 59 goals in three seasons.
It is in Scotland this season that he’s really shown how good he is however. The striker has notched up 17 goals (and six assists) in 37 games for Hibernian.
Surely that kind of form will see him given a chance, at the very least, in the friendlies before The Euros begin?
Neco Williams (Liverpool)
Many, many people are talking about this young man at the moment and it’s very easy to see why.
In a team full of world class stars at Liverpool, it’s great to see an 18-year-old Welshman get some credit for performing so well. Although he’s only been a bit-part player, Williams has shown what he can do and fans are really excited by what he can offer on the international front.
I’m sure that, if given a proper chance, he could challenge Swansea’s Connor Roberts for that right back position – despite his young age. His creativity going forward would be a very useful asset to Giggs’ side.
England have tried to twist his arm, but it certainly looks as though the Wrexham-born defender will opt to represent Wales instead.
Ben Cabango (Swansea City)
Another young star who’s broken through at club level this season, Cabango has been something of a rock for The Swans in the absence of Mike Van Der Hoorn in defence.
He’s a commanding centre back and another one who spent time playing in the Welsh Premier League – just last season in fact, on loan at champions The New Saints (TNS), making 16 appearances.
Down South this season, the 19-year-old has proven to be a strong and commanding centre back for Swansea and shown real potential.
Wales have great options at CB now with Joe Rodon, Tom Lockyer etc but with Chris Mepham having been injured for so long, is it fair to say it’s worth taking Cabango as back-up?
Ben Williams (Barnsley)
Another young talented defensive option for Giggs to consider. Williams is a left-back who’s made 15 appearances for Championship side Barnsley this season – starting 11 of those matches.
A Wales U21 international, he’s a technically gifted left-back who likes to get forward to support the attack. He forced his way into Barnsley’s first team contention during the 2018/19 Sky Bet League One promotion campaign.
He’d be a very reliable option for the Wales squad.
Dylan Levitt (Manchester United)
Finally, here’s a United youngster who’s stepped into the limelight a little bit this season. The 18-year-old is a central midfielder, who was born in Bodelwyddan, North Wales.
He has previously been called up by Giggs to the senior side for qualifiers against Hungary, Azerbaijan, Slovakia and Croatia, but was not capped. He’s an attacking-minded player who loves to create chances for team-mates and that could really offer Wales something a little different.
Truth is, central midfield is somewhere in which, at this moment in time, we are very blessed with the likes of Aaron Ramsey, Joe Allen, Will Vaulks and Joe Morrell all plying their trade there. But Levitt is certainly one to keep an eye on in the near future.