Rodon delighted to have Tottenham's 'Welsh Mafia' at Euro 2020

23-year-old says Spurs team-mates Gareth Bale and Ben Davies makes him "more comfortable" at international level

AFP June 15, 2021


Wales centre-back Joe Rodon said on Monday his relationship with Tottenham Hotspur team-mates Gareth Bale and Ben Davies makes him "more comfortable" at international level ahead of this week's Euro 2020 Group A game with Turkey.

Rodon, 23, has established himself as a starter in Robert Page's defence and has won 15 caps since his debut in 2019.

He joined Bale and Davies at Spurs from hometown club Swansea last October and videos on social media have seen the trio be named the 'Welsh Mafia' at the north London club.

"It's important for me that I'm comfortable in the whole group," Rodon said.

"Having Gareth and Ben in this group is going to make me more comfortable in this team and I'm delighted."

Five years ago, Wales reached the European Championship semi-final in France before losing to eventual winners Portugal in their first appearance at a major tournament since 1958.

Rodon had yet to make his senior club debut as some of his future team-mates made a surprising run to the last four by beating Belgium in the quarter-finals.

"I was a fan, I was watching it with my family and my friends. I went to some of the fan zones in Swansea," he said.

"It was an unbelievable experience and hopefully I can make some memories with the team in this one," he added.

Wales realistically need to avoid defeat in Baku on Wednesday to keep their hopes of reaching the last 16 alive after Saturday's 1-1 draw with Switzerland.

However, they could qualify for the next round with just three points, like Portugal and Northern Ireland at Euro 2016.

Rodon will face another trio of players who feature together at club level.

Lille striker Burak Yilmaz, attacker Yusuf Yazici and right-back Zeki Celik lifted the French Ligue 1 title less than a month ago.

"They're a top team and we have our top players as well. It's always nice having that more from club football," he said.

"The boys are really good with me here and it's a close unit."

At the Olympic Stadium, Rodon, who spent three months on loan at then fourth-tier Cheltenham in 2018, will be given the job of marking the in-form Yilmaz.

Veteran Yilmaz, who turns 36 in July, scored 18 goals in all competitions for his club last term, one more than Paris Saint-Germain's Brazilian star Neymar.

"Every striker in this tournament is going to bring a different challenge," he said.

"Going up against quick strikers is always going to be difficult. It's the challenges we want as defenders, it's only going to make us better moving forward.

"They're an aggressive team as well. It's going to be a difficult match. Hopefully we can get a positive result."


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