Legends on Euro 2016 - Cliff Jones
06 June 2016|Tottenham Hotspur
The countdown is on for the start of Euro 2016 - and we've gathered the views of four Spurs legends who graced the major tournament stage for their countries. First up, Cliff Jones on Wales...
Double-winner, flying winger and Welsh legend Cliff was a key man as Wales reached the quarter-finals of the World Cup in 1958, where they were knocked out by eventual-winners Brazil - with a certain Pele scoring the only goal of the game.
It took Wales 58 years to reach the finals of another major tournament and now Cliff, who earned 59 caps for his country, looks ahead with confidence to France as they take on Russia, England and Slovakia in the group stage.
What is your enduring memory of the 1958 World Cup in Sweden?
Cliff: "It has to be that quarter-final match against Brazil, playing against a team who would go on to win the World Cup and seeing the emergence of one of the all-time greats, Pele. We took them all the way. We were very similar to the Wales squad now, we were all together, we all worked hard and then we had someone like John Charles, a match winner very much like Gareth Bale now. However, we didn't have John for that quarter-final, he was injured and that was a big loss for us."
Below: Cliff (front row, far right) with the Welsh team in 1958 alongside Spurs team-mates Mel Hopkins (back row, third from right) and Terry Medwin (front row, far left).
What do you think of Wales' chances in Euro 2016?
Cliff: "For a start, I'm not taking too much notice of the last friendly against Sweden (a 3-0 defeat on Sunday), we had a few players out and I don't think that will affect the squad too much going into the tournament. It will be tough but you know what, I think we've got a good chance of getting through the group. I think we're good as a defensive unit, I rate Wayne Hennessey the goalkeeper, Ashley Williams and it's great to see Ben Davies in there as well. Of course, going forward, we have someone like Gareth Bale, who can win any match."
We have 11 players at Euro 2016, including five in the England squad. What does that say about the club at the moment?
Cliff: "It's great for Spurs and it's been fantastic to see the way Mauricio Pochettino has brought players through the system, I believe that's always good for a football club. Okay, everyone knows it was disappointing right at the end but last season was a fantastic season. If at the start of the season we'd have been offered third in the Premier League, a place back in the Champions League, seeing the development of Harry Kane and emergence of Dele Alli, yes, we'd have taken that!"
Below: Ben Davies in action for Wales in Sweden
Who else do we need to look out for in Euro 2016?
Cliff: "I'd say Belgium. I think they have a fantastic squad obviously including the Spurs lads (Toby Alderweireld, Mousa Dembele, Jan Vertonghen). I really like Mousa, a top player and they also have the likes of Lukaku and Hazard, another world-class player."
Finally, who do you think will win the tournament?
Cliff: "I would absolutely love to see one of the home countries do well but I'm going to stick with Belgium."
Cliff Jones won the league title, three FA Cups and the European Cup Winners Cup for us in 378 appearances between 1958-68. He won 59 caps for Wales, scoring 16 goals.