Eardley happy to have Speed

Welsh full-back pleased to see "legend" in charge

Eardley: Confident in Speed's ability

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Wales full-back Neal Eardley has praised the decision to appoint "legend" Gary Speed as coach of the national team.

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Speed was installed as John Toshack's replacement in December and will take charge of the Dragons for the first time for their Carling Nations Cup game against the Republic of Ireland on Wednesday.

The 41-year-old won 85 caps for his country in his playing days as well as taking the captain's armband for some of those games.

However, his experience at top-level management is limited to say the least, having taken charge of just 18 senior games whilst at Sheffield United.

Blackpool defender Eardley, however, is confident that Speed will do well at international level.

Surprised

"I think a few people may have been surprised (at the appointment)," said the 22-year-old.

"But personally I always thought it might be Gary Speed who got the job and when I found out I was happy.

"He has not been retired long and he played at the highest level for Wales for many years and spent seasons on end in the Premier League.

"It's nice to have a manager who is a bit of a legend in the game and I'm looking forward to working with him and his new staff."

Eardley is also confident Wales can get a result from the Republic game, despite the team having slipped to an all-time low Fifa world ranking of 116.

"Any game we play we are looking to win it, we want to get a winning mentality and we are looking forward to the games that we have got coming up with the new manager, the new staff and with some players coming back into the squad," Eardley added.

"I think it's an exciting time for us to be honest.

"Playing the Republic is going to be difficult, they are a good side that have a lot of players playing Premier League football and we know what to expect, but we are concentrated on what we have to offer and we will prepare right for the game."