Euro 2021 qualifiers: Faroe Islands v Wales
Venue: Torsvollur Stadium, Torshavn Date: Thurs, 29 August Kick-off: 17:00 BST
Coverage: Live video plus commentary on BBC Radio Wales and BBC Radio Cymru on the BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app.

Wales midfielder Angharad James says Wales are relishing the pressure of trying to reach a first major finals.

A much-improved 2019 World Cup qualifying campaign has led to raised expectations as Wales bid to reach Euro 2021, starting away to Faroe Islands on Thursday.

Wales are ranked behind only in a qualifying group completed by Northern Ireland and Belarus.

“I like the pressure and the girls like it,” said James.

“It is something different and we are looking forward to it.

“That is the difference in this campaign is we have pressure on us and we have never had to deal with that before.

“We have always gone into games as the underdogs and it is completely different in this campaign.”

Ludlow’s new deal

James missed Wales’s friendly win over New Zealand in June after a long campaign and says she is thrilled to be linking up with her international team-mates again.

Despite suggestions to the contrary, no players retired after the disappointment of missing out on the 2019 World Cup and Wales were further boosted as manager Jayne Ludlow signed a new contract to remain national team boss.

James says she is thrilled to be back in a squad now containing 13 Women’s Super League (WSL) players.

“I was gutted to miss the New Zealand camp so it feels like a lifetime since I’ve been with the group, but I have kept in touch with Jayne and I watched the New Zealand game,” she told BBC Sport Wales.

“But it’s good to be back, hopefully we can get off to a good start, we have the Faroes and then will hopefully have a good crowd for the Northern Ireland game.

‘Balance and good experience’

“I think the majority of the players now are full time and if they are not, Jayne has access to those who aren’t and trains with them three or four times a week.

“So even the ones not classed as being in a professional environment, really they are and they are getting training with Jayne at Cardiff, so we have that balance and good experience in the group.”

James believes the players are ready to make a positive start to qualifying as they build on the back of a World Cup qualifying campaign that drew increased interest from supporters and unprecedented levels of success as Wales conceded only three goals in eight games, winning five and drawing twice.

“It is exciting, the start of a new campaign and we learned a lot in the last campaign coming narrowly-close to qualifying,” said James.

“I think we have taken that edge into this camp and the girls are excited to be back and we are all excited to get going and take three points from the first game.”

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here