Belfast Telegraph

Give us pressure: Speed

Wales manager Gary Speed might hope to take advantage of any anxiety in the England side today — but wishes his players were facing the same pressures.

Speed could not have asked for a bigger challenge in his first competitive match in charge as rivals England visit the Millennium Stadium for a Euro 2012 qualifier.

As group favourites and with manager Fabio Capello the subject of continuing criticism, England are under pressure to perform.

The former Wales captain, whose first match was a 3-0 drubbing by the Republic of Ireland last month, said: “There is always pressure on England. Every England player, whoever they are playing against, is always under pressure. I want to get to the stage where there is pressure on us.

“If that is the case, we are doing okay. As a player, if asked would I like that pressure or not — I'd rather have it there.

“It means it is a big, important game and you are privileged to be playing. I'd rather it was there than wasn't.”

Speed's preparations suffered a major setback yesterday when star player, Tottenham winger Gareth Bale was forced to withdraw with a hamstring injury.

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