Football: Gould salutes unsung hero

NOT FOR the first time in foreign parts, Wales were made to regret the absence of Ryan Giggs from the team whose prospects of qualifying for the play-off stage of the European Championship took a heavy blow in Switzerland last week. Yet it was the withdrawal of another left-sided player, the less celebrated Darren Barnard, that Bobby Gould chose to pinpoint.

From Chelsea's reserves to Bristol City, on to Barnsley's struggle to remain in the Premiership and back to relative obscurity, it can scarcely be said that Barnard has carved a big reputation. It was only last year that the 27-year-old, German-born son of British parents first came to the attention of the Welsh FA, though his influence on the team was quickly apparent.

So many times has Giggs gone "missing" that the team have become expert in the practice of adaptation. They did of course win without him in Denmark, when Barnard really showed what he could lend from the left wing-back role. Gould said: "Against Denmark both goals came from Darren, and we missed him in Zurich."

For such an upbeat character, Gould cut a forlorn figure on the home journey. For all the wiles of Stephane Chapuisat, the scorer of both Swiss goals in their 2-0 win, the playmaking of Ciriaco Sforza and Stephane Henchoz's defensive command, this is no more than an ordinary Swiss team. The Welsh, handicapped by the loss of a woeful early goal and the departure before half-time of the injured goalkeeper Paul Jones, knew a great opportunity had been spurned.

The Easter sunshine, a perusal of the Group One table and a reminder that Italy had been held at home by Belarus, proved restorative, and the fighting talk soon returned."Of course I was down," Gould said. "We work very hard to achieve results and it hurts when we don't. If it doesn't you shouldn't be in the game."

He was "delighted" to learn of Italy's stumble. "Who knows what that will mean to the final shape of the group? All the calculations are hypothetical but it does mean that the Italians will be under pressure against us in Bologna in June."

Wales follow that hazardous journey with the "home" tie (at Anfield) with Denmark, two fixtures crucial to Wales' hopes and also to the manager's chances of staying at the helm beyond his present contract, which expires in December. "I want to stay on but I know that whatever happens to me the infrastructure for the future well-being of Welsh football is in place," added Gould.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Savvy Media Ltd: Media Sales executive - Crawley

£25k + commission + benefits: Savvy Media Ltd: Find a job you love and never h...

Austen Lloyd: Corporate Solicitor NQ+ Oxford

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: CORPORATE - Corporate Solicitor NQ+ An excelle...

Reach Volunteering: Financial Trustee and Company Secretary

Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: A trustee (company d...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Project Manager

£45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

The young are the new poor

Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty
Greens on the march: ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’

Greens on the march

‘We could be on the edge of something very big’
Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby - through the stories of his accusers

Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby

Through the stories of his accusers
Why are words like 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?

The Meaning of Mongol

Why are the words 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?
Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible