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Ben Davies Determined Wales Need To Be Great Against Danes After Delays And Confusion

Ben Davies insists Wales are relieved to be testing themselves against the best Denmark have to offer on Sunday.

After a strange build-up to an international match that has included a strike threat from the leading Danish players and a flight delay for Wales out of Cardiff on Saturday night, the UEFA Nations League tie in Aahus has a surreal backdrop.

At one point it appeared that Wales would be taking the field against a bunch of part-timers. A few hours later and mechanical aircraft issues suggested Wales may even struggle to be there at all.

Ryan Giggs’ pre-match press conference was cancelled as a consequence and the squad did not arrive at their hotel until the early hours of Sunday morning.

The dispute over the image rights of the Denmark players had threatened to turn the game into a farce. The hosts fielded a team of lower-league and futsal players for the 3-0 friendly defeat to Slovakia on Wednesday.

That was the prospect facing Wales until a deal was brokered by the Danish FA and its players’ association, but Tottenham defender Davies says: “If we want to win things and prove ourselves, we have to do it against the best possible teams.

“Denmark are a really strong team when they’ve got their best players there. That’s the players we want to play against.

“But we haven’t thought about any of the palaver that’s gone on with them, we’ve just tried to be ready when the game comes.”

The settling of the Danish dispute means Davies will come up against Tottenham team-mate Christian Eriksen.

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“He sometimes sees things that other people don’t,” Davies said. “His awareness of the game, ability to pick a pass and the quality he’s got makes him one of the best midfielders in the world.

“We’ve been very lucky to have him over the last few years the number of chances he’s created.

“He makes our team flow as we get our rhythm through him, helping us take the ball from defence to attack so easily.”

The tie also sees Davies return to a country he knows well as he spent part of his childhood in Denmark when his father worked there.

Davies spent about two years – before his comprehensive school education – living around an hour away from Aarhus.

“Football played a massive part when I was there,” Davies said. “But it was so cold some days in Denmark we had to train indoors.

“I loved living there and I loved having that experience and, looking back, I’m so happy I did it.”

The settling of the Danish row has allowed them to recall not only Eriksen, but also Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel.

“I think for us it’s about winning the game and playing well,” Schmeichel said at Denmark’s pre-match press conference.

“I am sure everyone will get behind us. It’s been a difficult week, but that’s life.

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“It’s just about getting on with it now and we will be ready.”

The Danish trio presented at the pre-match press conference – manager Age Hareide, captain Simon Kjaer and Schmeichel – were reluctant to talk about the affair which had turned Denmark into the laughing stock of international football.

But Hareide said the episode meant his squad, which reached the last 16 of the World Cup in Russia and are ranked ninth by FIFA, had been limited to only two training sessions before the Wales game.

“It is a little less than we normally have, but it’s OK,” Hareide said.

“There are players here who have been here for two years, so I am not too worried about that.

“All the players are fit and experienced. There are no worries about that. No excuses.”

But Schmeichel admits he has been impressed by Wales under new boss Giggs, a former Manchester United team-mate of his father Peter.

“Look at the last game and you can see the flair and spark that they play with,” he said.

“It’s very similar to the DNA he inherited at Manchester United and it will be very interesting to see what he can bring.

“He’s got a very talented squad with Wales. It is something that Gary Speed started, Chris Coleman worked really well, and now Ryan is putting his own stamp on it.

“Gareth Bale is obviously a world class player, but it would be disrespectful to focus on just him because Wales is full of very good players.”


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