Football: Jones made Wales captain by popular demand

He was not even considered good enough for the squad last time, but five weeks on, Vinnie Jones has reclaimed his place with Wales and furthermore, returns to the side as captain. England go into this World Cup weekend with a recovering alcoholic as team leader, so why not a footballing warrior who has been dismissed 12 times in a chequered career?

Desperate situations call for desperate measures and at least Jones will ensure that Wales' commitment will be total in Eindhoven tonight when they attempt to revitalise their qualifying campaign by prising a point or more from a Dutch side which crushed them in Cardiff last month.

Jones owes his promotion to a vote among those surviving players Bobby Gould has taken to the Netherlands following a debilitating series of withdrawals. "We had a democratic vote and the players chose Vinnie," Gould said. "They knew who they wanted to lead them."

The manager admits that in some quarters the decision will be seen as a "bad day for football", although in Jones' defence, he cannot be accused of beating up anyone, at least not off the field.

"I've always said Vinnie was underrated, but we'll have to make sure his enthusiasm does not bubble out before he gets on to the pitch," Gould said.

It is Jones' sixth cap and another important career milestone for a player who seemingly has always been fighting a battle to prove himself against those who say he not only lacks the talent to play at the highest level, but that his machismo tendencies do the game a disservice.

"I have not been so emotional for a long time," said Jones, who owes his qualification to a Welsh grandfather and who bears a dragon tattooed on his chest. "That's how it makes you feel when your fellow professionals vote you their captain and leader."

Leaving aside the captaincy, it is not easy to justify Jones' inclusion when set alongside Gould's contention that Wales suffered in Cardiff because of a propensity to lose possession.

"We can't allow them to have as much of the ball as they had last time because they use it so well. It's backs to the wall stuff, but if we dig in and show character, then we can get a result."

The rest of the side will not be disclosed until just before kick-off. Apart from the regular captain, Barry Horne, Gould is deprived of Ryan Giggs, Chris Coleman and Nathan Blake. Mark Hughes is suspended and Ian Rush would appear to have been consigned to the history books.

A month ago, the Dutch were similarly compromised by a lengthy absentee list, although the calibre of their replacements meant they were able to win comfortably in the end after Wales, through the brilliance of Neville Southall, had defended Dean Saunders' early goal for almost an hour.

This time Dennis Bergkamp, Marc Overmars and Michael Reiziger are all available for selection, while Pierre Van Hooijdonk, the Celtic striker whose substitution and subsequent pair of goals swung the game, is expected to overcome a calf strain.

The class gap glaringly obvious at the Arms Park might come to look relatively narrow by nine o'clock this evening.

NETHERLANDS v WALES

(at Philips stadium, Eindhoven; today, 7.0 GMT)

Group Seven

P W D L F A Pts

Wales 3 2 0 1 12 3 6

Belgium 2 2 0 0 5 1 6

Netherlands 1 1 0 0 3 1 3

Turkey 1 0 0 1 1 2 0

San Marino 3 0 0 3 0 14 0

RESULTS: 1996: 2 June: San Marino 0 Wales 5 (Melville 20, Hughes 32, 40, Giggs 50, Pembridge 85). 31 Aug: Belgium 2 (Degryse 11, Oliveira 36) Turkey 1 (Sergen 56); Wales 6 (Saunders 2, 75, Hughes 24, 54, Melville 34, Robinson 45) San Marino 0. 5 Oct: Wales 1 (Saunders 17) Netherlands 3 (Van Hooijdonk 72, 75, R de Boer 79). 9 Oct: San Marino 0 Belgium 3 (Verheyen 10, Nilis 20, 46).

FIXTURES: Today: Netherlands v Wales. Tomorrow: Turkey v San Marino. 14 Dec: Belgium v Netherlands. 1997: 20 Mar: Netherlands v San Marino. 29 Mar: Wales v Belgium. 2 Apr: Turkey v Netherlands. 30 Apr: Turkey v Belgium; San Marino v Netherlands. 7 June: Belgium v San Marino. 20 Aug: Turkey v Wales. 6 Sept: Netherlands v Belgium. 10 Sept: San Marino v Turkey. 11 Oct: Belgium v Wales; Netherlands v Turkey.

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

Recruitment Genius: IT Support Engineer

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The company provides IT support...

Recruitment Genius: IT Manager

£45000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This manager is for a successfu...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitm...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£13676.46 - £15864.28 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Re...

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific