Wales boss Chris Coleman wants 'edgy' friendly with Ukraine in Kiev

Wales coach Chris Coleman looks before the International friendly match between Wales and Northern Ireland
Image: Wales coach Chris Coleman wants an edgy match in Kiev

Chris Coleman accepts he has taken a risk by choosing Ukraine as penultimate Euro 2016 warm-up opponents for his Wales side.

Coleman agreed to the Kiev fixture as Ukraine's neighbours Russia are among Wales' Group B rivals in France this summer.

But Wales are once more without star pair Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey in what is certain to be a hostile environment at Kiev's 70,000-capacity Olympic Stadium on Monday night.

"When you go to places like this you find out a lot about players," said Coleman. "But we want it to be risky and we want it to be edgy. You learn nothing if you go into a game knowing if we are at 80 per cent we will win 4-0.

Chris Gunter (left) wants Chris Coleman to remain as Wales boss after he led them to Euro 2016
Image: Chris Gunter (left) battles for the ball against Northern Ireland

"Those sorts of games are no use at all. You do not learn anything. It looks good on the CV as another win, but I get nothing from it in terms of the players or the team.

"If you go into a hostile environment against a good team you know you can end up with egg on your face if you do not turn up and perform.

"But I prefer it like this. We are in their backyard in a tough atmosphere, and we have to show we can cope."

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Ashley Williams of Wales heads the ball clear under pressure from Northern Ireland's Paddy McNair
Image: Ashley Williams heads the ball clear under pressure from Paddy McNair

Wales dominated possession and territory against Northern Ireland in Cardiff on Thursday, even if they owed their 1-1 draw to Simon Church's last-minute penalty.

But they might have to defend for long periods in Kiev against fellow Euro 2016 finalists.

Coleman, however, has the comfort of being able to call on his first choice defence and is likely to return to five at the back.

Simon Church of Wales celebrates after scoring a late penalty to level the scores at 1-1 during the international friendly match with Northern Ireland
Image: Wales' Simon Church celebrates after scoring a late penalty to level the scores at 1-1

The fit again Ben Davies is set to join skipper Ashley Williams and James Chester in the centre of defence with Chris Gunter and Neil Taylor deployed as wing-backs.

"The edge in the atmosphere is not for everyone," said Coleman. "I have seen what it can do to some players. But guys like Ashley Williams are always the same in mentality, he always plays with that meaning and gives everything he has got.

"People say it is a tough place to go, it is cold, it is harsh and unfriendly. If it is that, fine. Ukraine are talented and aggressive, but we have to look at ourselves and stand up to that.

"That is always the message to the players and whether we can meet it."

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