Wales & Tottenham Hotspur defender, Ben Davies spoke with me ahead of the first set of competitive international matches this month, against Rep. of Ireland & Denmark.
He gives a brief insight into Danish domestic football, following the news that Denmark will not field a full strength side. He also talks about Paul Dummett’s return and the new crop of youngsters fighting for places.
On facing Rep. of Ireland:
“It’s a new tournament and a new competition, one that we want to get off to a winning start with.
“It’s a huge game. Obviously, the past few years we’ve had a bit of history with them. This is one we want to go into and get the 3 points.”
Referencing the previous meeting in October 2017: “I don’t think it was a tactic that they were trying to injure our players last time out. They play hard and most of the time it’s fair.
“That’s the way they go into their games. It’s unfortunate Joe Allen came out of that at the wrong end. That’s football, sometimes you’re going to come up against teams that want to play that way and make it difficult for you.”
On a potentially weakened Denmark side:
“I haven’t got much of a clue with what’s going on really. All I know is that they might not be fielding the first side, and that can only be better for us I guess.
“Christian Eriksen [Spurs teammate] will be keeping it under wraps to whether he’s playing or not, I’m sure. They’ve got some top players, but whatever they’ve got going on, it’s their business.
“For us, we have to be ready for whatever team they put out and try to win the game.”
When asked about Danish domestic football: “I played in Denmark when I was a kid and I still look out for the team when I was there, Viborg.
“I don’t know too much about the league now, but from what I do know it’s a good, technical league with decent football being played.
“Whoever plays against us, we just have to be ready. We’ve had tough games before like against Andorra, who are a team of semi-professionals, so it’s irrelevant to us. We just need to ensure we do our jobs.”
On the Nations League:
“We just want to try and win our games, that’s our way of looking at it.
“I think it’s good that they’ve levelled out the playing field and given every team a fair chance [of EURO 2020 qualification].
“With ourselves, Ireland and Denmark – it’s a tough little group. We are all at a similar level and hopefully we’ll be able to pick up a few wins along the way.”
On Paul Dummett’s return to the Welsh squad:
“I was speaking to him earlier in the season when we played Newcastle and asked him when he’s coming back. It’s like he’s never been away, he’s a good lad.
“All of the boys gave him some stick when he came in this week, but there’s no hard feelings whatsoever. If he’s here to play for the team and will give his all, that’s all we can ask for.
“Any player that we have playing regularly in the Premier League needs to be involved in this squad.”
On the new competition for places:
“It’s exactly what we want. Everyone is putting in good performances and the boys who have been picked have stepped up and done well this season so far, which is all the better for us.
When asked about youngster, Connor Roberts looking up to Davies as a “hero”: “I’m not sure if I’m a hero to him, but we’re from the same area.
“We’ve both got that same work ethic and footballing desire; if he can try and do what I’ve been doing and looks up to me, then that makes me proud to know that I’m doing something right.”
• Tactical predictions for Wales v Rep. of Ireland
• David Brooks: “I won’t be putting on an England shirt again”
• Final Welsh player roundup before the first set of Nations League matches
• All of the summer transfer moves for Welsh players