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World Cup 2018

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Home Sport Football

Ledley expecting Wales youngsters to play their part in inaugural Nations League

Ryan Giggs’ side drew with Mexico 0-0 in front of huge Rose Bowl crowd.

Joe Ledley believes Wales’ talented youngsters are set to play a part in the forthcoming UEFA Nations League campaign.

Wales held World Cup-bound Mexico to a goalless draw in front of a huge 82,345 crowd at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.

The result was achieved despite the absence of several regulars, among them Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale after his Champions League final heroics.

Manager Ryan Giggs gave opportunities to young players in his first two games in charge at the China Cup in March, and he did the same again in California.

Brentford defender Chris Mepham was outstanding in making his first start, and Leicester forward George Thomas and Manchester City midfielder Matt Smith both made second-half debuts as more youngsters were sent on.

“It’s great to see these young players come through and hopefully there’s many more caps to come,” Ledley said.

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Chris Mepham

“There’s a good mixture here, with the youngsters coming through and a lot of experienced players.

“I think we’ll see that in the next campaign.”

Wales’ next games are in September when the inaugural Nations League campaign gets underway.

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Joe Ledley

Giggs’ side host the Republic of Ireland in Cardiff before travelling to Denmark, and Ledley believes they will travel with confidence after frustrating Mexico.

“It wasn’t that long ago we played Mexico at this time of year and lost 2-0, so we’ve come a long way from there,” he said.

“They’re in the World Cup and we always knew it was going to be a difficult game.

“Some of us finished our season two or three weeks ago and we were always going to be up against it.

It's great to see these young players come through and hopefully there's many more caps to come. Joe Ledley

“But we worked our socks off and showed our character. It was a great performance.”

Ben Davies was particularly impressed with 20-year-old Mepham, who showed his maturity after skipper Ashley Williams succumbed to a suspected rib injury in the 17th minute.

Mepham was both vocal and organised as he and 23-year-old Bristol Rovers centre-back Tom Lockyer claimed a memorable shut-out against opponents ranked 15 in the world.

“Losing Ash was a big blow but the boys who came in did ever so well,” Tottenham full-back Davies said.

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Ben Davies

“It’s something to build on for both of them, but Chris deserved to start the way he’s been training.

“People will say there’s a lack of experience there but it doesn’t matter when he’s shown the quality he has.

“The manager has shown faith in those who have done well on the training pitch and I think that’s right.”

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