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skipper ash

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: October 05, 2012

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CHRIS Coleman has hailed Ashley Williams as the ideal man to take Wales forward after making the Swansea City centre-back the new national team captain.

Williams (above) replaces Aaron Ramsey as skipper ahead of the forthcoming World Cup qualification double- header against Scotland and Croatia.

Coleman insisted he needed to make changes after Wales began their quest to reach Brazil 2014 with defeats by Belgium and Serbia, the second of which was a 6-1 hammering in Novi Sad.

Wales host Scotland next Friday before travelling to Croatia four days later. And Williams is seen as the player to lead their faltering Group A campaign.

"It wasn't an easy decision, but something I've looked at for a while," said Coleman. "Aaron's 21 and I think he was feeling the pressure a bit.

"We need to go in another direction anyway because what we've been doing hasn't been working. Ashley's experienced, he's vocal and he never misses games. In the situation we are in he's the ideal man for the job."

The honour will come as a boost for Williams after a start to the season in which he has struggled for fitness and form.

The former Stockport defender has missed training sessions and received pain-killing injections for an ankle problem picked up at Aston Villa three weeks ago.

Williams's late error contributed to Villa's second goal in that game, while another mistake allowed Steven Fletcher to score for Sunderland seven days earlier.

"Ashley is a natural-born leader whether he's got a little knock or not," said Coleman.

"He's a good player, capable. He's proved that at the highest level and he'll keep proving that.

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