Welsh Wonder


MERTHYR Tydfill born midfielder Gavin Williams has been dreaming of a call up to the Welsh senior squad since his football career began as a trainee at Hereford United.

Finally, Gavin's dream came true this week when he was named in John Toshack's Wales squad.

But fate was to add a cruel twist to the 24-year-old player's landmark call-up. He suffered a sprained ankle in last Sunday's match against Derby and may now miss the chance to be involved with the international squad, as well as the clash with native rivals Cardiff a week on Sunday.

"It's touch and go whether I'll be fit when I join up with the Wales squad," admitted the former Yeovil Town midfielder, "but hopefully I'll still be able to travel and get the experience of being involved.

"It's always been my dream to play for Wales so I was absolutely delighted to get the call-up.

"It was my first ever call-up at any level for the national team so all my family and friends were pleased for me.

"Unfortunately the injury came at the worst time. Obviously it's really pleasing to be called up by Wales, but at the same time I'm disappointed to have suffered the injury.

"Now it's just a case of working hard, doing the right things and hopefully I might have half a chance of recovering in time."

The situation is doubly frustrating for Gavin because of the way the injury happened.

"It was one of those freak incidents that you just never expect," he confessed. "It was in the opening five minutes or so of the Derby game, the ball had gone out of play and I was jogging back into position when I lost my footing and turned my ankle over.

"It's annoying, but there isn't anything anyone could have done about it.  Right now I just want to get some treatment started and so how the injury heels. There's a fair bit of bruising on the ankle and the next few days will tell us just how long it will need to heel up."

The Hammers are well-stocked in midfield with the emergence of Mark Noble adding another name to the already distinguished list of players fighting it out for a place in Alan Pardew's starting line-up.

Indeed, being Cup-tied and now injured, has seen Gavin fluctuate in and out of the first-team since his £250,000 signing from Yeovil in December.

But, the former Player of the Year at Huish Park, insists that despite his sporadic appearances he's settled well into East London life.

"The other lads and people at the Club have really helped me to settle in," he said. "Being cup-tied meant it was difficult to get a solid run of games in the side. I played over the New Year, then missed the Norwich game when the boys did really well, which meant I was out of the next game.

"But I appreciate the position I'm in and it's up to me to make my mark on the first-team.

"It's been a little bit stop-start for me so far, but right now my main aim is to get fit again and then hopefully get involved for both West Ham and Wales.

"Hopefully, the lads can get a few good results on the board in the meantime. We're staying positive, we believe in what we're doing and just looking to do well in the next game and move on from there."