ASHLEY Williams revealed being made Wales captain has given his confidence a major boost.
The Swansea City centre-back takes the armband from Aaron Ramsey as Chris Coleman's side prepare for World Cup qualifiers against Scotland and Croatia.
Williams has struggled for fitness and form. Swansea have twice conceded after the former Stockport defender made errors, while Williams has needed pain-killing injections to cope with an ankle injury picked up at Aston Villa.
But the 28-year-old went without a jab as Swansea drew 2-2 with Reading on Saturday — and looked back to his best.
"I'm pleased to get the captaincy. It's obviously a great honour and once I meet up with Wales I'll speak more to the gaffer and know a bit more about what he wants from me," said Williams.
"I've captained the team before so it's no great change. The boys know me and I know them so we'll go into a massive week and the most important thing, irrespective of who the captain is, is a win — especially in that first game.
"It's a nice little boost for me at a time when things haven't been going well.
"I've been trying to work through that so it has given me a lift.
"The Scotland game is must-win for us. If we get two positive results in the next two games we'll still be involved in the group as no-one is really going to run away with it.
"I think the Scotland game takes care of itself and you'll see a better performance from us this time."
Wales meet Craig Levein's side at the Cardiff City Stadium on Friday looking to bounce back from two opening Group A defeats.
Then they travel to Croatia on Tuesday.
Coleman has turned to Williams after Wales lost at home to Belgium before they were thumped 6-1 in Serbia.
"It was a surprise to be made captain but the gaffer felt he wanted to change it," said the Swansea skipper.
"He asked me if I wanted to do it because there is a bit that comes with it.
"But I said 'yes, if you want me to be the captain I'd love to give it a go'." Coleman spoke to Williams, having earlier travelled to Arsenal's training ground to inform Ramsey of his decision.
"I said I would only do it as long as Aaron was fine with it," Williams added.
"He seemed to be fine with it after the gaffer spoke to him so I've obviously taken it.
"I haven't spoken to Aaron yet, but I'll speak to him at the camp.
"I don't think it will be an awkward moment because it's just one of those things.
"I know people will talk about it and look into it, but I get on with Aaron well and I'm sure it's going to be okay. We'll just get on with it and we won't probably even speak about the captaincy. It will just be a normal camp."