O’s star looking to fire Wales to glory
- Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO
Hedges in action for his country tonight as under-21s face Bulgaria in UEFA qualifier
Leyton Orient’s loan star Ryan Hedges is hoping to inspire Wales to glory tonight as they target qualification for the 2017 UEFA European Under-21 championships in Poland.
The 19-year-old, who is on-loan from Premier League Swansea City, has represented his country twice at under-21 team level, but in friendly fixtures.
Tonight he will hope to start as Wales take on Bulgaria under-21s at the Cardiff City Stadium for a 7pm kick-off – their first Group 5 qualifying match.
Former O’s boss Geraint Williams manages the under-21s and they are confident of glory.
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“This will be the first game of the new campaign,” said Hedges. “Obviously when I played last year there was nothing to play for.
“It was a good experience, but this time it will be more competitive. It will be a new experience for me playing in Cardiff, my first home game.
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“The win is most important, but individually I would like to get a goal and then take that form back to Leyton.”
Hedges’ international call-up ruled him out of Orient’s 3-1 win against Port Vale last weekend and he won’t be available tomorrow (Wednesday) either, when Fabio Liverani’s side face Coventry City at Ricoh Arena.
But the Swansea attacker is looking forward to getting back playing for the Brisbane Road outfit next Monday (April 6) when they host Gillingham.
“I think after Coventry I can get a few more days rest in and can go again for the Gillingham game,” he added.
“We will have Jobi McAnuff back as well then from international duty with Jamaica
“It is all still to play for and it is in our hands and as long as nothing drastic happens then I am sure we will get out of this relegation trouble.”
For the time being, though, Hedges’ focus is on Wales under-21s and he believes they have a great opportunity of qualifying for the 2017 tournament.
They have Denmark, Romania, Armenia, Bulgaria and Luxembourg to compete with for a first-place finish, but the O’s attacker is confident.
“We have got a good chance of qualifying,” said Hedges. “Especially from what I have seen from the squad in the under-19s and under-21s before.
“The group hasn’t got a big team like France, Portugal or Italy so this first game against Bulgaria is really important.”