Chris Coleman has expressed his support for under-fire Wales captain Ashley Williams.
The Everton defender has endured a difficult season at Goodison Park with his form coming under the microscope during the Toffees’ struggles.
Williams’ mistake last month also led to the Republic of Ireland winner that ended Wales’ World Cup hopes, and he was later criticised on social media for failing to acknowledge Welsh fans at the final whistle.
But Wales boss Coleman named Williams in his squad for November friendlies against France and Panama and, although he turned 33 in August, it appears that the 75-times capped centre-back is ready to continue his international career.
“There may be a change in his heart where he will want to do two more campaigns but he will want to do one more campaign probably,” Coleman said ahead of Friday’s friendly with France in Paris.
“He is a captain for a reason, he never misses games or training and has a real appetite for football.
“If you play long enough and play enough games you are going to have a bad patch.
“Your character is what makes you stronger and there is no doubt in my mind he will come through it.
“Look where Everton are, they need fighters and they have got one in him for sure.”
Williams incurred the wrath of some Welsh supporters when he headed straight down the tunnel after the 1-0 defeat to the Republic signalled the end of Wales’ World Cup ambitions.
But Coleman – who will resume contract talks with the Football Association of Wales after the two friendlies – insists that reaction was down to devastation rather than disrespect.
“He was absolutely crushed because I think he felt like me after that Republic game that we are never going to get to a World Cup,” Coleman said.
“He looks at it as if he was involved with the goal because of his mistake, but my words were to him that is one.
“You look at that in isolation, but we had 10 games where he has been a rock again.
“He came off the pitch and he was inconsolable – he was a broken man and in another place.
“But Ash would never ever show disrespect. He would be the last person to do that because he knows the importance of having the whole nation behind him as the captain of the team.”
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