Earnshaw facing Wales wait
Robert Earnshaw must wait and see if he is given the chance to start for Wales against Azerbaijan.
Last Updated: 01/06/09 10:12am
Robert Earnshaw must wait and see if he is given the chance to start for Wales in their World Cup qualifier against Azerbaijan on Saturday.
The Nottingham Forest striker scored the only goal of the game in Friday's 1-0 win over Estonia at Llanelli when he fired home from the penalty spot.
Next on the agenda for John Toshack's side is the more testing trip to Baku for the Group Four meeting with Azerbaijan.
Toshack may use just one striker and boost his midfield in demanding temperatures of over 80 degrees, while could mean Earnshaw standing down with either Simon Church or Sam Vokes leading the attack.
Earnshaw grabbed his 14th goal for his country in 44 internationals as he ended Wales' recent spot-kick misery against Estonia, taking him ahead of Toshack in Wales' all-time scoring list and only one behind John Charles.
He said: "It was just nice to be out there on Friday after missing so many games, and I enjoyed it.
"I was also aware that we had missed our last three penalties - I'd seen them on TV while I was injured - and I felt then that it could be me taking the next one, and that's how it turned out.
"I was just happy to put it away to make sure we got the win, which was a good confidence boost. There are a few of us who have not played for a few weeks, but we have had some good training sessions and we got a lot out of the game.
"We needed to get some fitness back and we have done that. It will give us a good platform now for Azerbaijan.
"It will be a lot tougher next weekend, a much more intense game at a higher level. But we are looking forward to it, we just have to keep a calmness and keep the ball. Things will happen then for us.
"We played well, we enjoyed it and we got our passing together. It all helps the build-up."
The 28-year-old is also having to get used to being the elder statesman in Toshack's youthful squad, with the Wales boss determined to build for the future.
Earnshaw said: "I never thought I would see the day that I'd be the oldest in the squad at 28. And they have years and years to go, I just hope their youth and enthusiasm rubs off on me a bit now.
"The core of our squad has been together now for three years, a dozen or so who have been together at Under-21 level. You can see it progressing, they have experience too with some 20-year-olds with 20 caps.
"We have a very good, emerging midfield now. Aaron (Ramsey), Joe Ledley, Jack Collison and that is good for the future. You know that if you make runs you know the ball will be coming where you want it from these three, it is very encouraging for the future.
"And a lot of them are playing now at Premier League clubs, which means they see the top standards every day and that can only help their progress."