Ricketts gears up for England
Sam Ricketts has backed Wales to match England next month despite a poor start to life under Gary Speed.
Last Updated: 09/02/11 10:44pm
Defender Sam Ricketts has backed Wales to match England next month despite getting off to a poor start to life under Gary Speed.
Speed's debut match as Wales manager ended in a disappointing 3-0 defeat against the Republic of Ireland in their Carling Nations Cup opener in Dublin on Tuesday night.
The Dragons now have six weeks to rebuild before their Euro 2012 qualifying campaign resumes with a daunting but much-hyped visit from their closest neighbours, who beat Denmark 2-1 in a Copenhagen friendly on Wednesday evening.
The likes of Craig Bellamy, Gareth Bale, Aaron Ramsey and Danny Gabbidon could be fit for the Millennium Stadium encounter, and Ricketts insists Wales have the quality to deal with Fabio Capello's side.
Ricketts, the second-most capped player in the Welsh side at Dublin's Aviva Stadium with 42 appearances, said: "It was a disappointing result because we wanted to get off to a good start but the gaffer said this was the starting point for him.
"There were some good aspects from the game in that we worked in the first half on how we wanted to play.
"We have to build from this, take the positives and build in every game.
"The England game will be very, very different but everyone is desperate to play in it.
"There will be a lot of lads who play in the Premier League now, so it's maybe not as big a step up as it used to be in the past - or even when we last played them.
"So there is no reason why we should not get a result in that game.
"We've got some world-class players to come back into the side because any team would miss the likes of Gareth Bale, Craig Bellamy and Aaron Ramsey."
Ricketts, a Premier League regular for Bolton, expects the top-flight pedigree in both the England and Wales teams to make for a mouth-watering encounter.
The 29-year-old said: "I'm looking forward to marking Wayne Rooney again if that's how it pans out and, as I've said, we've got a lot of lads playing in the Premier League week in and week out so there's no reason to worry.
"Yes it's a massive game, but it is in Cardiff and speaking for myself I can't wait for the game.
"It's a new regime, new ideas and we are looking to progress.
"He's [Speed] got a backroom staff with excellent credentials so it's a chance to learn and improve both as an individual and as a side as well.
"With players who play at the highest level we won't go out and fear England.
"We know what to expect from them and we respect them as players, but that doesn't mean you can't get stuck in."