Can the Flynn factor now revive Wales’ qualification hope?

Posted on September 7, 2010


By Luke James

BRIAN FLYNN is now free to take the reigns of John Toshack’s faltering Wales team after his under-21’s were cruelly dumped out of Euro 2012.

Flynn’s side lost by a single goal against Italy earlier this evening and despite being level on points with Italy and having a better goal difference, Italy took top spot on away goals against Wales.

Four of the best group runners-up also qualified for the Euro 2012 play-offs but Wales were fifth best runner-up.

That means Brian Flynn’s side have reached the end of the road for this tournament and Flynn now has the chance to follow many of his players and graduate to Wales senior level.

Spared blushes?

Everyone involved in Welsh football admires the extraordinary feat Flynn has pulled off by guiding a group of players, who are far from English Premier League regulars, through two qualification groups – coming out the other side with a winning mentality and a lot of credit.

In fact Flynn’s young dragon’s ill fortune today has spared him the blushes of bumping into Tosh back at the FA of Wales Cardiff headquarters, or FAWlty towers as I like to call it.

Either Flynn is chomping at the bit for Toshack to walk out on Wales for a second time or he must be positively embarrassed that he is showing up his boss’ failings.

Not only has Flynn shown that game on game he sends his players out onto the field, no matter who the opposition are, tactically aware and with hunger to win but he has also fed Toshack a steady stream of players for the first team.


Toshack has prided himself on blooding young players but is he getting the best from them? I don’t think so, just look at our attacking options. Flynn and his coaching team nurtured Ched Evans, Sam Vokes and Simon Church and had them firing on all cylinders against top sides for the under-21’s.

Church scores against England at Ninian Park

But they break into the first team and all of sudden their confidence dries up to the extent that Tosh believes plucking Steve Morison from Milwall is a better option than anything he already has.

And I don’t believe it’s because the likes of Simon Church have failed to meet the challenges of international football. Church scored three goals in two games against an England side packed full of English Premier League stars during the last under-21’s campaign.

Putting three past Joe Hart is no mean feat, then or now. Don’t forget Church has already opened his scoring account for the seniors in what can only be seen as a miraculous three goal rout over Scotland.

Man management

As fellow SixBallsBetweenUs blogger Thore Haugstad pointed out in his previous column, ‘England Mystery back on square one’, ideally you need to be a motivator in the style of Jose Mourinho to be a successful international manager.

You have very little time in which to coach your players and can have your plans ruined at the drop of a hat, as Toshack well knows, by a player dropping out the night before a game.

So you have to be able to go to your next option and inspire them to do a job for you, to play above themselves and get you a result. Wales need a people person and I think we have found out the long and hard way that Toshack is not that.

If you need further proof just look at the Craig Bellamy saga, only two months ago it seemed his international future was over, now Wales’ international future hinges on Craig and Gareth Bale’s wing play. Bellamy is still playing for Wales in spite of Toshack, not because of him.

Experience won’t cut it

Wales’ experience with John Toshack should tell us one thing, don’t choose Ryan Giggs as the next manager on the basis of his ‘experience’. Giggs has been tipped to take the Wales hot seat because of his experience, as a player and of working under Alex Ferguson.

Toshack has been to the top

If you want experience John Toshack is your man. Tosh has taken Swansea from the gutter of English football to the top flight, won La Liga with Real Madrid and experienced managements in a host of other European clubs, not to mention his achievements as a player. But his experience alone hasn’t cut it so far in this job.

It’s not Ryan’s time for the top job in my opinion but let’s welcome him back as a player, maybe he could give Tosh a call to discuss the prospect, he might struggle to contact him if reports that John Toshack refuses to own a mobile phone are true. If so they really prove my point.

My heart says I want to see John Toshack, a loyal servant to Welsh football, lead his team proudly into one more do-or-die trying double header against Bulgaria and Switzerland next month.

My head tells me that Brian Flynn could really fire the squad up and breath life into our already failing assault on qualification.

But then again Flynn, or any other new manager could be just another false dawn for Welsh football – it really is the hope that kills you.