Joe Morrell impressed by ‘laid-back’ Wales youngsters

Wales v Czech Republic – International Friendly – Cardiff City Stadium
(Image credit: Simon Galloway)

Joe Morrell says he has been amazed by Wales’ ‘Playstation generation’ who have adapted instantly to the demands of international football.

Wales manager Robert Page responded to booking a World Cup final play-off spot by using Tuesday’s friendly against the Czech Republic to rest star men like Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey and hand several youngsters an opportunity.

Page’s faith was rewarded by several bright individual displays and a positive team performance in a 1-1 draw that extended Wales’ unbeaten home record to 18 games.

Wales v Czech Republic – International Friendly – Cardiff City Stadium

Joe Morrell, left, has hailed the next generation of Wales players after Tuesday’s 1-1 friendly draw with the Czech Republic (Simon Galloway/PA)

Rabbi Matondo, 21, Brennan Johnson, 20, and Rubin Colwill, 19, formed a three-pronged strikeforce with the latter scoring his first Wales goal at the Cardiff City Stadium, where he plays his club football.

“This generation of players are just so laid-back, then they come on the pitch and turn it on,” said Portsmouth midfielder Morrell, 25.

“Lads are probably playing PlayStation for 10 hours, messing about playing pool, snooker, darts or whatever and play like that.

“They are so relaxed and laid-back and manage to switch it on when they’re on the pitch. It’s great to watch and be a part of.”

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Excitement is certainly growing in Wales over the potential of Nottingham Forest winger Johnson.

He has been one of the stand-out players in the Sky Bet Championship, with 11 goals and six assists this season, and showed against the Czechs that he can thrive on the international stage.

Morrell said: “I’m sure Brennan will be playing at a higher level next season.

“To share a pitch with him was fantastic, just a small glimpse of what he can offer in the future.

Wales v Czech Republic – International Friendly – Cardiff City Stadium

Brennan Johnson, left, took his club form at Nottingham Forest on to the international stage with Wales (David Davies/PA)

“I think we forget how young these players are, thankfully they don’t have the pressure they would have if we didn’t have fantastic players in that position.

“Rubin’s not rushed in because we’ve got fantastic players at the top end of the pitch, world-class players.

“He can take his time and be eased in, which he has been. You forget how young and inexperienced these players are, but they don’t show it when they pull on the red shirt.

“We’ve got some fantastic senior players – world-class players – but one day they’re not going to be there.

“We have to make sure we’ve got plenty coming through and that looks to be the case.”

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Having beaten Austria last week to move within one win of their first World Cup since 1958, Wales will be part of Friday’s finals draw in Qatar and await a play-off final against Scotland or Ukraine.

It is certainly shaping up to be a busy summer for Wales with that game most likely to be played in June, alongside four Nations League matches.

“I don’t think we can be in a better place going into the summer,” Morrell said.

“The big talking point and motivation before the game was that we kept that unbeaten record against a good Czech Republic team.

“It was important to do that because we want our home ground to be a fortress and we’ve done that.”

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