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We are approaching our first international of the new season when we play a friendly away to Luxembourg next Tuesday and I am really looking forward to meeting up with the Wales squad again.
We have picked quite a strong squad for the game and it will be interesting to see what our manager Adrian Tucker does with the players at his disposal. We shall find out what he can take from practice and put into a game and there are players who are playing different styles of football in the squad.
The game against Luxembourg will be a case of trying to keep the ball and be patient, as well as trying to score more goals than we have done recently. After our Euro 2009 qualifiers, it will make a nice change to go into a game as favourites and with no pressure as it is a friendly and for me personally, due to playing my club football in Holland, I am looking forward to a game with good communication with my team mates!
Whatever happens, it will be a complete contrast to our last match against Germany which was a different world, playing in front of a crowd of 16,000 and live on television over there. That said, I didn't realise how easy it would be to block it all out during the game - I only really noticed the crowd at dead ball situations. However before the game you do get caught up in it and the noise when the Germans came out was incredible! Unfortunately we hadn't played for a few weeks, whereas a lot of the German team had played for Frankfurt in the UEFA Cup Final a few days before, but our seasons had already ended and it was not the best preparation for us. In the first 25 minutes we were all over the place and found ourselves three goals down, but when we settled we made it hard for them and they only scored once more - and that was from a free kick.
Helen Lander has been called up to the squad for the game and that is really good for us as she will add something to the team that we need. She is a goalscorer who has scored a lot of goals in the Premier League and she will give us an extra cutting edge after only scoring one goal in our UEFA qualifying group matches. Helen plays on the last defender and holds the ball up well and she is going to be a great asset. Cheryl Foster is scoring a lot of goals right now and is a big player for Wales, it is good to see that she is still going strong. Gwennan Harries is in great form and it is great to see her scoring goals as she needs confidence and it can only do her good.
I am also pleased to see Sian Cheedy back in the squad for the game. I played with her at Cardiff and I know what she can do, hopefully she will be there to stay.
It is important that we look to the future now but we can still reflect on the European Championship qualifying campaign. Looking back, we were happy with our performances but not the results - we played good football but it was our first real competition against experienced teams so you couldn't expect miracles. We had to learn to play a continental style of football and to play against them and we did better than the results suggested - we should have beaten Switzerland and won in Holland, when we dictated the game, we were also unlucky against Belgium and at home to Holland.
Now our aim is to build on how we play and improve from there. We have got some really good youngsters coming through and now have more experience with the likes of Helen Lander coming in, so we can only get better. We have got our defensive game sorted, so we have to look at getting the attacking game right and that will come with time. We have got the backing now as well as a manager and coach who expect things from us, and I am really excited about the future of the Welsh team!
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