Wales David XI
To commemorate St David’s Day / Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Russell Todd selects a Wales XI of Davids, Dais and Daves
Dave Hollins – brother of England international John, Hollins made his début in 1962 against reigning world champions Brazil – featuring the likes of Didi, Vava, Pele, Garrincha, Nilson Santos – as a half-time substitute for the great Jack Kelsey. Ken Leek grabbed an equaliser before Pele broke Welsh hearts again with two late goals in a 3-1 win. Hollins started the next game in Mexico City and spent the next four years competing with rookie international keepers, Tony Millington and Gary Sprake, eventually slipping down the pecking order. Like his first cap, Hollins’ final cap came away to Brazil.
David Partridge – London-born Partridge was one of four debutants in John Toshack’s first game of his second reign as Wales manager in 2005. He had previously played youth, u18 and u21 games for Wales before dropping off the radar and re-building his career in Scotland after being released from West Ham as a youngster. He subsequently moved to Bristol City and established himself in Toshack’s first XI for the 2006 World Cup qualifiers, but was arrested after a night club scuffle. While awaiting the court proceedings he won a seventh and final cap against Trinidad and Tobago in 2006 but was subsequently imprisoned for two months. Partridge never revived his Bristol City career and after several loan spells was released and moved to the League of Ireland and into the English non-league.
Dave Phillips – the tag utility player can be used to praise players with faint damnation. In Phillips’ case this is deeply unfair. Phillips won 62 caps over the course of 12 seasons, starting with a debut alongside Mark Hughes in the 1984 Championship victory over England. In only his sixth cap he effectively man-marked Graeme Souness at Hampden Park but he also played in both full back positions, wing back and across the midfield. The first of his two Wales goals came in the 1987 rout of Finland, the other coming in the 1994 friendly in Estonia. One of two Daves to be on the wrong end of dodgy penalty calls against Scotland, with Phillips being adjudged to have handled the ball at short range at Ninian Park in 1985.
Dave Roberts – 17 caps in four seasons between 1973 and 1978, Southampton-born Roberts had a tough reputation at Oxford United and Hull City – where he won his Wales caps – before ending his league career with Cardiff City before moving to Hong Kong. In 2010 he provided Wales Online with a list of his twenty hardest Wales players.
Dave Jones – despite a modest international career – only eight caps, scoring once – Jones was a key figure in one of the most infamous moments in Welsh football history: Jones was deemed the miscreant when Joe Jordan handled the ball at Anfield in 1977. Jones’s final cap, against England in the famous 4-1 win at The Racecourse in 1980, was also his final professional match, having failed to recover from knee ligament damage sustained in the game.
Dave Bowen – a wing half in the 1950s, Maesteg-born Bowen only won 19 caps but is a Welsh legend thanks to captaining Wales at its only World Cup appearance. In so doing, along with Jack Kelsey, Bowen became the first Arsenal player to play in a World Cup. His final cap came a year after the World Cup when he became player manager at Northampton Town who he subsequently steered through the four divisions of the football league. Northampton Town’s Sixfields has its North Stand named in Bowen’s honour. One of two Davids in this XI to also manage Wales, Bowen’s spell as manager was lean, with only ten victories in the decade Bowen wa sin charge between 1964 and 1974. However, only Mike England and John Toshack managed Wales on more occasions.
Dave Edwards – a member of the Euro 2016 squad, Edwards figured in each of the group games. Recently retired, Edwards won 43 caps after his shock debut against Ireland in 2007; he completed 90 minutes in only ten of his caps though. Regarded at each of his clubs – Shrewsbury, Luton, Wolves and Reading – as a scorer of important goals, his trio of Wales goals were all of note: a nerve-settling opener versus Liechtenstein in 2008, the winner away to Azerbaijan in 2009, and the opener in the 3-0 defeat of Scotland in which Aaron Ramsey was imperious. Edwards recently returned ‘home’ to Shrewsbury Town where he started his career 16 years ago as an 83rd minute substitute in the game that saw Shrews relegated from the Football League.
David Williams – Cardiff-born Williams has had a curious playing and coaching career. He started playing league football as an amateur combining playing for Bristol Rovers with, firstly, his studies, and then as a teacher. At 23 he finally turned fully professional, but by 28 was player-manager of The Gas when Bobby Gould departed for Coventry City; remarkably, the season in which he was appointed player-manager of Rovers Williams earlier played for Wales under 21s as an overage player. Norwich City subsequently signed Williams as a player in 1985 and the following year his only five Wales caps came in the diverse locations of Al Khobar in Saudi Arabia (as a substitute for Dave Phllips), Toronto, Vancouver, Wrexham and Helsinki. He subsequently became player-coach, player-assistant manager and caretaker manager at Norwich and at only 33 was caretaker manager for Wales in a 1988 game against Yugoslavia between the reigns of Mike England and Terry Yorath. He’s remained involved off and on with the FAW at intermediate levels and as assistant to Brian Flynn in his caretaker spell.
David Rhys George Best Cotterill – in only two of his 24 caps spread across 11 seasons did Cotterill complete 90 minutes – both against Northern Ireland: in the 2011 Carling Nations Cup and in the pre-Euro 2016 friendly. Never a Wales regular, he did however play his part in qualifying for France with the opener cross-cum-shot at home to Cyprus and away to Belgium in which he was sacrificed in a tactical adjustment. Has recently bravely spoken about his struggles with depression which will go a long way to help people understand it’s ok not to be ok.
Dai Collier – Played one, scored one for Wales, in a 1-2 defeat to Scotland in the 1920-21 Home Championship, the season in which he was Grimsby Town’s top scorer. Collier was also the Mariners’ first ever international goalscorer.
Dai Astley – it took Dowlais-born Astley a while to find his shooting boots at international level, with only one goal in his first four caps, but he then scored 11 in his next nine caps. A key member of Wales’s 1933 and 1934 Home Championship winning teams, Astley played in the final international before World War II and a further four wartime internationals, before making for the Continent playing for Metz for a season after hostilities had ended. Astley then went to manage Inter Milan and Genoa in Serie A and then have a successful spell in Sweden, before returning to the UK and becoming a publican in Ramsgate.
Dai Davies (gk)