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The Big Interview - Ben Davies

Posted on 30 September 2015  - 10:06

What a fortnight ahead for Ben Davies!

Ben Davies applauds our fans after Saturday's 4-1 win against Manchester CityNodding in against Crystal Palace, only to see his effort ruled out for off-sideCelebrating with Hugo Lloris and the players after the 1-0 win against PalaceIn action in the 1-0 win against Sunderland

After helping the team topple City 4-1 in the Premier League, we face a glamour tie in Europe against Monaco on Thursday night and then he’ll travel ‘home’ with the squad for Sunday’s Premier League clash against his boyhood team and former club Swansea.

Then, it’s just the small matter of a chance to make history with Wales, who need two points from their final qualifying matches against Bosnia and Andorra to make it to the Euro 2016 Finals – their first major tournament since the 1958 World Cup.

Let’s start with the fantastic 4-1 win against City, what did you make of our performance on Saturday?
Ben Davies: “We didn’t make the best of starts, they scored too easily on the counter-attack but we managed to equalise late in the first half and at half-time we spoke about where we needed to get at them. To end up winning 4-1 against a City side that pundits already had down as potential champions and the team to beat was a very good feeling. You know teams like that are going to have spells in matches but we pretty much dealt with everything and we then have someone like Hugo who pulled out the world-class saves when we needed him to.”

What do you think about our start to the season in the Premier League?
Ben: “Realistically, we could have more points when you look at the draws against Leicester and Stoke, when we were ahead in both games. We all felt we deserved something from United as well. There were opportunities there for us. We’ve responded well after those draws.”

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Monaco are next up in the Europa League, what are your thoughts ahead of Thursday’s game?

Ben: “We looked at the teams in the group and the standard is very strong and that’s before the Champions League teams come down. We know what a challenge it is but our aim remains to go as far as we can and hopefully win the competition, but we realise how tough that will be. There are lots of good teams involved including Monaco and if we want to progress, we have to go out and do well against them. It will be difficult over there, we’re aware of that but we have to look at it that we’re a good side as well and we have to go out and show what we can do.”

You have an incredible week ahead starting at your former club Swansea on Sunday and then hopefully getting over the line with Wales and qualifying for the Euro 2016 Finals. First of all, what are your thoughts on Swansea?
Ben: “They are going through a rough patch at the moment and will want to rectify that at home, but we go there looking to pick up the three points. They will also be determined to beat us having not beaten Spurs yet in the Premier League. They will be up for it, so will we and we’ll be aiming for the win.”

Swansea looked so good at the start of the season but as you mentioned, they are without a win in four since beating United…
Ben: “They are a very good side and, when their tails are up, one of the hardest teams in the league to play against when they are on song and popping the ball around. They’ve had a couple of disappointing results and we’ll go there and try to make it as difficult as possible for them.”

We spoke after your first return ‘home’ last season, but do all those feelings come back again every time you play at Swansea?
Ben: “Yes, last season was massive for me, but this is just as big. All my family and friends will be there. My family are from just outside Swansea and my dad has a season ticket for the Swans. I know a lot of fans who have season tickets just from growing up around the area. I’m sure some will have mixed opinions on what they want the result to be!”

Finally, to Wales. This is it! All those years of disappointment at not qualifying for a major tournament could be over next week...
Ben: “It’s a week for us to make history. We go out to Bosnia first, one of the toughest games in the group, but we have to go out there with confidence. Hopefully it will go well there but we all know we have the game at home against Andorra on Tuesday (October 13) where we should be able to pick up a win. It would be nice not to have to, okay, it’s Andorra, but we’d all love qualification wrapped up before the last game.”

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How does it feel to be within touching distance of a first finals appearance since 1958?
Ben: “I remember talking right at the start of the qualifying campaign and feeling this was an opportunity for us. We’ve done most of the leg work, now we have to get over the line. We all know how close we are. We could have wrapped it up against Israel at home (drew 0-0) but these things happen. Now it’s an opportunity – and we have to take it.”

I suppose we have to mention the rugby and Wales beating England!
Ben: “Wales hung in there and did it right at the end. Dan Biggar was incredible and he’s a big hero back home at the moment. I watched it with two of my Welsh pals in England and we were probably the smuggest Welshmen around the next day!”