The Courier & Advertiser (Angus and Dundee)
No panic for upbeat Robson-Kanu
Hal Robson-Kanu has promised he will be ready for Wales’ Euro 2016 opener after suffering an injury which he said panicked people.
Robson-Kanu said he suffered a ruptured plantaris – one of the fascial compartments of the leg and the longest tendon in the body – on Wales’ pre-Euros trip to Portugal two weeks ago.
The injury looked like having serious consequences for Robson-Kanu’s participation in the tournament, and Wales manager Chris Coleman said on Tuesday that the striker would be assessed right up to the naming of his team for Saturday’s Group B opener against Slovakia in Bordeaux.
But Robson-Kanu said: “I’ve trained. I’m feeling good, feeling fresh. Come Saturday I’ll be 100%.
“I was always confident I would be fine, even though a few people around me were panicking.
“It was a ruptured plantaris and apparently it’s quite impressive to come back from that so soon. But it was just innocuous, no one was to blame for it. My focus was just getting back on the pitch.
“I’ve not had to have pain-killing injections, I’ve just got on with the hard work.”
Robson-Kanu was integral to Wales’ success in Euro 2016 qualification, even though he scored only once in a 2-1 home defeat of Cyprus in October 2014.
The 27-year-old’s selfless running left space for Aaron Ramsey and, in particular, Gareth Bale to exploit as Wales ended their 58-year wait to play at a major tournament.
“I have to create space for others,” said Robson-Kanu.
“The lone striker role, you have to be quite mobile and occupy their defenders, especially with the players we’ve got who can cause damage.
“It’s an important role that requires a lot of running but I’m more than happy to do that for the nation.
“It can help bring more out of Gareth, that’s the idea behind it, as well as the likes of Ramsey.
“It’s a role I enjoy, but playing it is tough and not many players can do it. But the rewards for the side are there.”
Robson Kanu’s club future remains uncertain as he is available on a free transfer following the end of his 12-year association with Reading.
He has been linked with Southampton, Swansea and Watford, but his focus is on Euro 2016 right now and righting the wrongs of last weekend’s 3-0 friendly warm-up defeat to Sweden.
“I’m a fit player and the manager knows that,” said Robson-Kanu.
“He’s not told us the team yet and it won’t be until the night before the game that you can get a feel of what’s in his mind.
“But it’s important we have as many of our squad available.
“I’ll be keen to start after my contribution in the qualifiers.”