Welsh football on the rise

Ben Davies, a born and bred Welshman, has transferred to Tottenham Hotspurs from Wales-based Swansea. He is the latest member of the so-called ‘golden generation’ of Welsh football, to move to a big club, joining a list that includes Joe Allen, previously of Swansea, now of Liverpool, Gareth Bale, previously of Spurs, now of Real Madrid, and Aaron Ramsey, playing his trade at Arsenal, previously of Cardiff City.

With Ryan Giggs retiring in 2007, and the bullish Robbie Savage on the road to retirement, Wales looked a troubled side. Craig Bellamy was ageing rapidly, and Gareth Bale, the future of Welsh football, was enduring a rather difficult spell at Tottenham Hotspurs, unable to break into the first team. While the likes of Danny Gabbidon and David Edwards provided the sturdiness, there was a severe lack of creativity in the team.

However, Welsh football enjoyed a remarkable turn-around, with Aaron Ramsey of Cardiff getting a run out in the 2008 FA Cup final, and impressing enough to be offered a contract at Arsenal, transferring to the Londoners in a £5 million deal. While playing for the Gunners, Ramsey gained crucial first team experience, accumulating 22 appearances in the 2008-09 season, scoring 1 goal. While the midfielder’s progress went unnoticed in England, he was the subject of great excitement among Welsh football fans, the majority of which were tired of scraping meagre wins past minnows of the global game, like Estonia, Azerbaijan, and San Marino.

Gareth Bale was also in luck, with regular left-back Benoit Assou-Ekotto sidelined due to injury, then-manager Harry Redknapp decided to give him an opportunity, playing against Peterborough in the FA Cup 3rd Round. Over the course of the 2009-10 season, Bale played 34 times, scoring on 3 occasions.

Tomos Knox

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