Wales Turn To Bluebird Blake Amid Crisis
Cardiff City defender Darcy Blake has been given the nod to fill-in for Chris Gunter in tonight's EURO qualifier against Switzerland where anything less than a win would see woeful Wales completely out of the running.
Former Cardiff City starlet Gunter was sent off during the agonising 1-0 defeat at home to Bulgaria. His subsequent suspension means a chance for a current Bluebird, with Blake and Adam Matthews under consideration by caretaker boss Brian Flynn.
Flynn has opted to offer Blake his first senior cap, and told the SW Echo:
'Darcy gets his chance and he deserves it, although there wasn`t much in it between him and Adam.'
'I guess the experience Darcy has gained in the Championship, last season and this, got him the nod.'
'He has made huge strides from where he was a year ago and playing for Wales can only help his club career with Cardiff.'
'He has got terrific pace, power in the tackle and, for his size, is as good as anyone I`ve seen in the air. He times his jumps to perfection.'
Blake's call-up represents a remarkable year for the youngster whose fledgling career appeaared on the decline just 12 months ago. It seemed certain he would become the latest promising youngster rejected by the Bluebirds (e.g. Joe Jacobsen, Aaron Morris, Stuart Fleetwood, Micahel Corcoran, Tareq Khalil etc) when he was farmed out on loan to Plymouth Argyle. At that point, Blake was devoid of opportunities, and struggling with motivation and fitness problems.
However, that 'Pilgrimage' to the South Coast of England proved just the tonic and he has since become an effective Championship player and superb example to fellow youngsters. He was outstanding amid a centre-half crisis and has managed to oust the likes of Matthews, Quinn, Gyepes and even McPhail on form this season. His verasatility has allowed him to feature at centre-half, full-back or in midfield.
The Wales game is useful action for Blake, who faces a suspension following a red card during the win over Barnsley prior to the International break.