Wales warm-up match is a bit of a gam­ble, agrees Cole­man

Side could be un­done by hos­tile mood in Ukraine Ram­sey and Bale will be on the side­lines again

The Daily Telegraph - Total Football - - TOTAL FOOTBALL - By Phil Blanche in Kiev

Chris Cole­man ac­cepts he has taken a risk by choos­ing Ukraine as penul­ti­mate Euro 2016 warm-up op­po­nents for his Wales side.

The man­ager agreed to the Kiev fix­ture be­cause Ukraine’s neigh­bours, Rus­sia, are among their Group B ri­vals in France this sum­mer. But Wales are once more with­out star pair Gareth Bale and Aaron Ram­sey and could come un­stuck in what is cer­tain to be a hos­tile en­vi­ron­ment at Kiev’s 70,000-ca­pac­ity Olympic Sta­dium tonight.

“When you go to places like this, you find out a lot about play­ers,” said Cole­man (right). “But we want it to be risky and we want it to be edgy. You learn noth­ing if you go into a game know­ing that if you are at 80 per cent you will win 4-0.

“If you go into a hos­tile en­vi­ron­ment against a good team, you know you can end up with egg on your face if you do not turn up and per­form. But I pre­fer it like this. We are in their back yard in a tough at­mos­phere, and we have to show we can cope.”

Wales dom­i­nated pos­ses­sion against North­ern Ire­land in Cardiff on Thurs­day, even if they owed their 1-1 draw to Si­mon Church’s last-minute penalty. But they might have to de­fend for long pe­ri­ods in Kiev against fel­low Euro 2016 fi­nal­ists.

Cole­man, how­ever, can at least call on his first-choice de­fence and is likely to re­turn to five at the back. The fit-again Ben Davies is set to join cap­tain Ash­ley Wil­liams and James Ch­ester in the cen­tre of de­fence, with Chris Gunter and Neil Tay­lor de­ployed as wing-backs.

“The edge in the at­mos­phere is not for ev­ery­one,” said Cole­man. “I have seen what it can do to some play­ers. But guys like Ash­ley Wil­liams are al­ways the same in men­tal­ity, he al­ways gives ev­ery­thing he has got.

“Peo­ple say it is a tough place to go – cold, harsh and un­friendly. If it is, fine. Ukraine are tal­ented and ag­gres­sive, but we have to look at our­selves and stand up to that.”

Cole­man is also re­lieved that Ch­ester is fi­nally start­ing reg­u­larly for his club, West Bromwich Al­bion, af­ter an £8 mil­lion sum­mer switch from Hull. Ch­ester was a linch­pin of Wales’s de­fence in qual­i­fi­ca­tion but started one Premier League game be­fore Fe­bru­ary.

Cole­man said: “There was no worry about him be­ing on the plane be­cause it is ob­vi­ous how good he has been for us, but start­ing in a tour­na­ment might have been dif­fer­ent if he’d had no club football.”

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