PROUD father Roger Speed is backing his son for success as manager of the Wales football team.
Flintshire-born former Premier League star Gary Speed is expected to be confirmed as John Toshack’s successor today.
And Roger believes the 41-year-old from Mancot will be aiming to guide the team to an appearance in a major championship finals.
The appointment caps a big week for Gary, currently manager of Sheffield United, who is due to collect his MBE from the Queen later this week.
Roger, a former part-time Wrexham FC player from Aston Park, Deeside, spoke of his pride and said football was in his son’s blood.
He told the Leader: “As soon as Gary could walk he was playing football. I was keen for him to take it up.
“Gary made the Deeside under 11s team when he was seven. He was over the moon when he got his first cap for Wales. He is well respected in the game.”
Roger said Gary’s first game in charge would be the Carling Nations Cup clash against Republic of Ireland in Dublin in February.
He said: “I don’t know if he will be bringing some of the old players back, like Simon Davies and Ryan Giggs.
“He is still good friends with the players he played with.
“He has enjoyed his time at Sheffield United. It is a really good club.
“This is the next stage of his managerial career.
“It has to be a boost managing an international side.”
Wales sit at the bottom of group G of the UEFA Euro 2012 qualifiers, with no points from three games and defeats to Montenegro, Switzerland and Bulgaria.
Roger was born in England but says he would have no conflict of interest when Wales play Fabio Capello’s team in a vital qualifier in Cardiff in March.
He said: “Gary is a very proud Welshman and I will be supporting him.
“He would love to win that game and I would love him to win it. He will bring passion.”