Wales Can Wait Says OTJ

Friday, 14 March 2008, 8:19
2 mins read

OTJ has been referred to as a future Welsh captain but that is very much at the back of his mind as he looks to pay back some of the faith that Swansea City have shown in him over the past 27 months since he first received an injury blow at Swindon on New Years Eve 2005.  Since then it has been setback after setback and false promises of returns and brief cameos but nothing of note but now the midfielder is fit and ready for duty should he be needed in the Swans promotion run-in.

And he is well aware that as well as Toshack, he has another fan in Roberto whom he played alongside when he first came to Swansea under Kenny Jackett.  And it is that support that adds to his determination to return to the side and show the fans that he can prove that it is not misplaced support.  “Getting in the Swansea team has to be my priority now,” he explained to the Western Mail. “Being referred to as your country’s future captain is a nice thing to hear from your manager, but Roberto has got nice things to say about all his players.

“I’ve still got to prove myself to him before I can start thinking about the national team. I have to establish myself at this level again.

“Playing for Wales is still my long-term goal though. I’ve been picked in the squads but I haven’t been able to step out on the field which has been difficult for me.

“It was a good experience to be with the squad. But at the moment I’m just looking to be involved in the 11 remaining games here, proving my fitness and qualities and then reaping the benefits on both levels next season.

“It’s difficult to say how it will pan out,” he said. “The boys playing at the moment, Prats, Brits and Ferrie, have been the best midfield in the league and it’s probably the strong point in our side.

“I don’t think anyone in the league has come near them really in terms of quality and the understanding they have developed. So it will definitely be a challenge.

“But, perhaps as the lads maybe start to tire at the end of a long, hard season, I can give the manager a boost if at any stage he needs fresh legs. He knows I’m here, I’m training hard and I’m ready for the fight.

“He knows my preference is to play in midfield. But if he sees a game where we are low in numbers at the back, then I’m happy to fill in there.

“Obviously having missed out on so much football, it’s such a nice feeling to come into training every day.

“It can be a little bit depressing just going to the gym and seeing the same faces day after day.

“Now it’s up to me to prove my fitness to the gaffer. I’m fully fit but I won’t consider myself to be quite there until I’ve stepped out on the football pitch again and that’s something I’m hoping to put right in the next couple of weeks. It’s been hard on the sidelines and I’m fed up of just watching games up in the stands. Now I’ve got to prove myself to the manager and show him that I can be a big player for him in the future.”

Images courtesy of Getty Images, Athena Picture Agency and Swansea City Football Club.
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