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Joe Ledley fires defiant message to rivals as Wales legend insists Euro 2024 qualification dream still alive

JOE LEDLEY warned Wales’ Group D rivals: Write us off at your own peril.

The Dragons’ Euro 2024 bid faltered in June with disastrous back-to-back defeats by Armenia and Turkey.

Joe Ledley offers experience and legendary dance moves
Joe Ledley was part of Wales’ Euro 2016 side which reached the semi-finals in France
Gareth Bale and Joe Ledley starred for Wales at Euro 2016
Cult hero Ledley backed up talisman Gareth Bale with hard graft in midfield

That left Wales sitting fourth halfway through the campaign – and with a mountain to climb if they are to seal a third straight Euros qualification.

But ex-Dragons midfielder Ledley insists three points in tonight’s must-win clash against Latvia can provide the springboard to keep their qualifying dream for Germany alive.

Under-fire boss Robert Page saw his side gain confidence from keeping a clean sheet in Thursday’s goalless friendly draw with South Korea.

And the Dragons have the memories of recovering from a dire summer in 2019 to qualify for Euro 2020 in their final qualifier against Hungary.

Cult hero Ledley won 77 caps and was part of Chris Coleman’s side that reached the Euro 2016 semi-finals.

Ledley, 36, said: “With the quality of players and management and the experience of back-to-back qualifications, you can never write Wales off.

“Can Wales still qualify? Yes, definitely. We’ve got to be optimistic we can still finish in the top two.

“If we can get the win in Latvia then we can build up the momentum from there. We’ve got home games to come so we’re not out of it.


“We have to be positive and the fans will be behind the team as well.

“We may need a little bit of luck but we can still finish in the top two.”

Page’s men were disappointing in the shock 4-2 home loss to Armenia, which was followed by a 2-0 away defeat to Turkey.

Armenia claimed a valuable 1-1 draw in Turkey on Friday night which could boost Wales’ hopes – if they halt a woeful run of just one win in their last 13 internationals.

Central to their hopes is captain Aaron Ramsey, who has shown signs of a resurgence since his summer move back to boyhood club Cardiff.

Ramsey, 32, terminated his contract at Nice in France and rejected a lucrative deal in Saudi Arabia so he could return to Wales and be with his wife Colleen and three children, rather than playing overseas.

The midfielder looks to have had a new lease of life back in his homeland.

He has scored twice in his first five Championship games – albeit in defeats to Leicester and Ipswich.

Cardiff-born Ledley has known Ramsey, who is from Caerphilly on the outskirts of the Welsh capital, for a long time now.

The local lads played together for the first time when an emerging Ramsey came through the Bluebirds’ ranks before he joined Arsenal in 2008 in a £5million deal.

They were reunited playing for their country as Wales booked a spot at Euro 2016 and reached a major tournament for the first time since 1958.

Rambo has since gone on to play at a second Euros and then the World Cup in Qatar last November.

And Ledley reckons close pal Ramsey, who has also represented Juventus and Rangers, can now lead by example.

Ex-Celtic and Crystal Palace star Ledley said: “It’s been a good move for Aaron and Wales.

“Being on the doorstep to the Football Association of Wales base at Cardiff can work for him.

“The physios and medical staff can keep an eye on him, as well as the manager. It’s easier to keep an eye on Aaron being in Cardiff and I’m sure the management will come to watch some of his games.

“He’s a big part of Wales, especially now as captain. He sets an example.

“We lost Joe Allen in midfield to retirement and he’s a big loss for Wales.

“I’d like to see Ethan Ampadu sitting and Aaron more in an attacking midfield position. He likes to get in the box and scores vital goals.”

Ledley believes Ramsey’s signing has boosted not only Cardiff but the Welsh capital as a whole.

Speaking at a McDonald’s Fun Football Festival, Ledley added: “Aaron’s move has been massive for Cardiff. He’s at an age where it’s important for his family to be happy.

“He’s given the club and city a massive lift and he’s started well. I hope he can have the same influence as when Craig Bellamy came back — but let’s wait and see.”


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