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Wales v Northern Ireland: Joe Ledley wants a lengthy Coleman reign

By Phil Blanchie

Joe Ledley has responded to the impasse over Chris Coleman's contract talks by expressing his wish that the Wales manager stays "for many years to come".

Coleman has steered Wales to their first major tournament for 58 years at Euro 2016 this summer, but talks over a new two-year deal to take in the 2018 World Cup campaign have so far proved fruitless.

The 45-year-old said last week he remains "apart" from the FAW after initial discussions, and talks have been put on the back-burner ahead of this week's friendlies against Northern Ireland and Ukraine.

Coleman has since been linked with Aston Villa and Swansea, even though those two clubs currently have managers in place, but Ledley feels his future is still very much with Wales.

"He's going to be linked with clubs because what he's done for Wales and this nation is remarkable," said Crystal Palace midfielder Ledley. "He's a fantastic manager and it doesn't surprise me. But we want to keep him with Wales because this is the start of something new.

"I'm sure something will be sorted out sooner than later and the main thing is that he's here.

"We want him to be here for many years to come after what he's done for us and the whole nation. He's focused on the build-up for the Euros.

"Hopefully he'll continue for many years to come, especially with good kids coming through."

Wales are without Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey for this week's friendlies, as well as the likes of James Collins, Andy King and Paul Dummett, and Coleman will blood a few youngsters in the Cardiff and Kiev games.

And Ledley feels the two matches present the perfect opportunity for younger players to make a case for Euro inclusion.

"You always want your best players playing, but these things happen and people who do step in have the chance to put in a performance and get a place in the final squad," he said.

The Wales camp have been in good spirits after linking up with Welsh rock band Manic Street Preachers for an official Euro 2016 song. The song, entitled 'Together Stronger (C'mon Wales)', will be released close to the tournament on May 20.

Belfast Telegraph


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