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Five Underestimated Wales Players Who Could Hurt Ireland In Dublin

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 04: Dider N'dong of Sunderland (L) and Joe Ledley of Crystal Palace (R) battle for possession during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Sunderland at Selhurst Park on February 4, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images)

Although Gareth Bales, Joe Allen and Aaron Ramsey are the first names that come to mind when the Wales national team is mentioned, their side is equipped with a number of other talented players.

Their run to the Euro 2016 semi-finals was no fluke. Granted the above trio in particular had a major role to play, but the togetherness of the squad and other standout individual performances is what got them by.

Ireland manager Martin O’Neill will be masterminding ways to keep Bale under wraps in exactly two weeks at the Aviva Stadium, however other individuals too have the capabilities to hurt Ireland.

Here we look five such players.


5. Joe Ledley (Crystal Palace)

Ledley won many plaudits during the Euros and is a player well known to Ireland fans already. The Welsh vice captain is an important player for Crystal Palace. Having started out as a winger at Cardiff City, the former Celtic man has become a composed central midfielder.

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 04: Joe Ledley of Crystal Palace looks on during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Sunderland at Selhurst Park on February 4, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

Adept at set-pieces and a technically gifted passer, Ledley has the ability to dictate the flow of games and has provided the essential cover in midfield, enabling the likes of Allen and Ramsey to roam further forward. Will be a key man for the Welsh in Dublin.


4. Hal Robson-Kanu (West Bromwich Albion)

Despite his domestic form not always making headlines, the 27-year-old was one of the stars of the Euros. Another man to have started off as a winger, the pacy attacker has been used through the middle or in front of Bale, who plays in a free role.

WEST BROMWICH, ENGLAND - JANUARY 02: Hal Robson-Kanu of West Bromwich Albion (L) takes the ball past Curtis Davies of Hull City (R) during the Premier League match between West Bromwich Albion and Hull City at The Hawthorns on January 2, 2017 in West Bromwich, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

His spectacular goal against Belgium last summer showed that he can be a match-winner out of nothing. However, Ireland will take comfort from the fact that he is not overly prolific, netting only once for West Brom this season, where he is used mainly as an impact sub.


3. Jonny Williams (On Loan At Ipswich Town From Crystal Palace)

Another player to rise to prominence after the Euros, Jonny Williams has made several loan appearances away from Crystal Palace where he has yet to gain a consistent place since their Premier League promotion season.

The 23-year-old’s latest spell has been at Ipswich, where he is returning to fitness following an injury sustained in December.

CARDIFF, WALES - OCTOBER 21: Ipswich player Jonathan Williams (c) is challenged by Peter Whittingham (l) and John Brayford of Cardiff during the Sky Bet Championship match between Cardiff City and Ipswich Town at Cardiff City Stadium on October 21, 2014 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Williams is dangerous on the counter-attack and is known for his energetic breaks and precision passing. He is also capable of breaking up play and has a similar playing style to Ireland’s own Wes Hoolahan.


2. Sam Vokes (Burnley)

A player many Premier League fans will be familiar with, the Burnley man was another to score in the famous win over Belgium. Often used off the bench by Chris Coleman, Vokes is a powerful striker who is a deadly threat in the air.

BURNLEY, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 18: Sam Vokes of Burnley (R) is tackled by Alan Power of Lincoln City (L) during The Emirates FA Cup Fifth Round match between Burnley and Lincoln City at Turf Moor on February 18, 2017 in Burnley, England. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

He is another low-key player who makes Wales tick as a unit and his hold up play can provide a platform for Gareth Bale to feed off.

A club teammate of Robbie Brady, Jeff Hendrick and Stephen Ward, there will be no niceties when the bruising forward comes to Dublin.


1. Tom Lawrence (On Loan At Ipswich Town From Leicester City)

Like Williams, former Manchester United youth Lawrence is on loan at Mick McCarthy’s Ipswich Town. He has managed eight goals from midfield this season away from parent club Leicester City, with many of them coming from the wing.

IPSWICH, ENGLAND - JANUARY 07: Tom Lawrence of Ipswich Town (R) celebrates after scoring his sides second goal during the Emirates FA Cup third round match between Ipswich Town and Lincoln City at Portman Road on January 7, 2017 in Ipswich, England. (Photo by Alex Morton/Getty Images)

Lawrence is a direct player who likes to take on defender and cut inside. Despite only having four caps for his country, he is one of Wales’ form players at the moment meaning that he could be propelled into the starting XI in Dublin.

Nick Menezes, Pundit Arena

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Author: Nick Menezes

Nick is a soccer, GAA and rugby fanatic who has a worrying obsession with the Irish football team. His articles focus on Irish football and he also writes some light-hearted pieces, particularly quirky starting XIs.