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Wales team remind me of '58 - Cliff

Posted on 4 September 2015  - 14:00

Legendary winger Cliff Jones says the current Wales squad remind him of the one and only Wales team to make it into the finals of a major tournament that he was part of back in 1958.

Cliff at the LaneBen Davies (front row, second from right) with the Wales team ahead of their win in Cyprus

The current squad - including Ben Davies - is on the verge of ending Wales’ barren spell after another key victory in Euro 2016 qualifying on Thursday night.

Ben played the full 90 minutes as ex-Spur Gareth Bale headed home the only goal of the game to beat Cyprus and leave Wales needing just one more win from three games in Group B to secure a place in the finals in France next summer.

Currently top of Group B by three points from Belgium, Wales take on Israel in Cardiff on Sunday, travel to Bosnia (October 10) and then face minnows Andorra (who have won three of 128 competitive games) back in Cardiff (October 13).

The cushion of Andorra at home would suggest Wales are just about there but they can end what would be a 58-year wait for a major finals on Sunday by beating Israel.

There aren’t many prouder Welshmen around than Cliff, 80, who played 59 times for his country between 1954-1969 and not only helped them qualify for the World Cup Finals in 1958, but also played his part in their run to the quarter-finals in Sweden, where they were narrowly beaten by Pele and Brazil, the eventual winners.

"It was a fantastic performance to go and beat Cyprus, a great team display,” said Swansea-born Cliff. “It took me back to when we played.

“Chris Coleman has instilled that spirit, commitment, a sense of pride and togetherness with different personalities and characters who mix perfectly to make this group, and they take that out onto the field.

“That togetherness is key but then you have players like Ashley Williams at the back, a great captain and real leader in the centre of defence, Aaron Ramsey, our own Ben Davies, a real talent and of course Gareth Bale.”

A key member of our double-winning squad in 1961, Cliff has always talked about that squad’s togetherness under Bill Nicholson. “We were all mates and we took that out onto the pitch,” he said.

“Bill Nicholson was the main man for us, Danny Blanchflower, our captain, then took over on the pitch and we had great, great players like Dave Mackay and John White. That worked for us in the glory, glory days at Spurs.”