Wales boss Chris Coleman opens Gap Connah's Quay's new 3G pitch


Charlie Croasdale

WALES manager Chris Coleman believes the Welsh Premier League is getting stronger but has challenged the division to keep improving.

Speaking at the opening of Gap Connah's Quay's new 3G pitch, the national team boss hailed the improvement in the league since his appointment as Wales boss in 2012 but warned of complacency from the top tier down to grassroots in the Welsh game.

"It's a better standard than it's ever been since I've been Wales manager," Coleman said. “Everything can improve. The Welsh Premier League has improved since I took over as manager and it can keep on improving.

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“It's just like our first team can improve, we've done well but we can get better. Once you start thinking you've achieved what you wanted to, you'll go backwards, quickly. So everything can improve but certainly the four years since I took over the Welsh team, the Welsh Premier has improved and it looks like it's only getting better.

"You only have to look at the performances in Europe last summer, with TNS, Newtown, all producing fantastic performances, and people start to take notice of Welsh football. 

"There's so many youngsters here today and it should be their aim to try to break into the Nomads teams, and others into their Welsh Premier side, and they should aim to be the next Aaron Ramsey or Ashley Williams. 

"I like the spilt in the league. It's different to most leagues and it increases the competitiveness, there's no such thing as mid-table and that's good for the game here."

Coleman - who has will lead Wales into this summer's European Championship finals in France - feels 3G surfaces are vital for the progression of grassroots football.

"Look it's absolutely fantastic to see so many people here today in Connah's Quay and for me, the more of these 3G pitches we have in Wales the better," he continued.

"There's nothing worse than when you can't get game time. Out on the pitch and out training is where kids and adults want to be. They are expensive but they're worth it and it helps to bring the youngsters through, making them better players, and that's fantastic for Welsh football.

"Grassroots football is where the next Aaron Ramsey, Gareth Bale, it's where they will be coming from. We were all here one day, playing at a local level, so our involvement at grassroots level has to be and always should be at the forefront of our thinking in this country.

"We should be thinking what can we do and how do we make it better?"

Nomads boss Andy Morrison spoke to the expectant crowd of around 150 young players and 300 parents and family, challenging them to break into Nomads first-team and beyond.

"This is a fantastic facility for you all to use," Morrison said. 

"We must make the most of this 3G pitch. Not just for Nomads but for the whole community. 

"It's our aim to produce players to play for Wales. You should aspire to be the best you can. We could be looking at the next Les Davies or George Horan here, but then you should push yourself to be the best you can in the game.

Nomads director of football Jay Catton explained Coleman's presence at Nomads was a 'huge boost'.

"It's a massive day for the club, to have this sort of turnout from players, parents, staff, it shows the sort of community spirit here at Nomads," Catton added. 

"We're a proud Welsh club and we support everything the Welsh national team do and the job Chris has done has been magnificent.

"I've been to a number of events like this with Chris and he gives so much time up for all the kids and parents, he really loves it and he's a Welsh manager who is easy to get behind.

"These pitches are massive for the Welsh Prem, not just for the matches but also for the training. There's a junior league in Cardiff who haven't played for 15 weeks, which isn't helping anyone. 

"The more games we get on, the more it helps player development and the big thing is our facility is open for everyone to use."

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