5 things Wales need to improve to qualify for Euro 2020
Dragons won’t be going to Russia
After a historic and incredible journey to the semi-finals of last summer’s European Championships, Wales will be sitting on the sofa for World Cup 2018.
Chris Coleman’s side failed to finish in the top two in qualification for Russia, and must now regroup for Euro 2020.
But what do the Dragons need to do to ensure their reach the finals next time out?
The Coral News Team have picked out four issues Wales should look at fixing…
Not rely on Bale
The statistics make for damning reading when it comes to Wales’ reliance on Gareth Bale.
The Real Madrid ace netted seven of their 11 goals en route to France, and hit four from seven games in Euro 2016 qualifying.
Despite missing three matches, the forward still netted twice as many goals as any of his team-mates.
Ben Woodburn could be ready in another 12-18 months’ time, but Welsh fans shouldn’t expect too much too soon of the Liverpool ace.
The likes of Sam Vokes, Hal Robson-Kanu and Simon Church all need to start taking their chances.
Wales have failed to win 13 of the last 16 matches Bale has missed. That includes friendlies, but whichever way you paint it, they must become less reliant on the former Tottenham Hotspur striker.
Be more attack-minded
Feeding on from the Bale issue, Wales simply must become more adventurous up front.
They only scored 11 goals on their way to France, and that was upped slightly to 13 on the road to Russia.
But six of those came versus Moldova, meaning Coleman’s side netted only seven from the remaining eight games.
And as good as the Republic of Ireland, Serbia and Austria are, none can claim to be notably better than Wales.
They drew half of their matches in qualification for the World Cup. A move attack-minded approach could have won them crucial points.
Stay focused at the back
Speaking of points, Wales would also be through to the play-offs – or even straight to Russia – had they kept things tight at the back.
They conceded a Group D joint-low of six goals, but it was the manner in which those goals came that is the problem.
Wales dropped eight points from winning positions, including both vital matches versus Serbia.
Even when they went 1-0 up at home to Georgia, the visitors clawed their way back in to grab a point.
Wales work on this aspect of their game for the Euro 2020 qualifiers, it would make their life so much easier.
Gareth Bale is the only Welsh player plying his trade abroad.
That isn’t an issue specific to Wales, but instead of having a go on the continent, several members of their squad are playing in the second or third divisions across the UK.
They aren’t coming up against top opposition, which hinders them on the international stage.
If more players took a chance and went abroad for a shot at top-flight football, they would surely develop as a player – and that’s only a good thing for Wales.
Change the manager
This isn’t a prerequisite, by any means. Chris Coleman has done an excellent job as Wales manager and has been rightly lauded.
But how much further can he take the national side? It had been reported that the former defender was looking to move on after next summer’s World Cup.
His stock as a manager will never be higher than it is now, so if he is to move on, now is a good time.
And for all of his success with Wales, there’s always the risk that things turn stale and the side stagnate.
It will also be a good time for Wales, who will have almost 12 months to blend in a new manager.
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