England warned Wales are ‘wounded animal’ ahead of World Cup meeting

England warned Wales are ‘wounded animal’ ahead of World Cup meeting

Chris Mepham has warned England to beware of the “wounded animal” of a Wales with nothing to lose when they bow out of the World Cup on Tuesday.

Wales’ chances of qualification in effect disappeared with the 2-0 defeat to Iran but defender Mepham feels that will make Robert Page’s team more dangerous now they can take the handbrake off.

And he takes heart from their record of troubling elite teams in the past as he vowed to give England a tough game.

“Handbrake off now, we need to go for it,” the Bournemouth centre-back said. “We’ve nothing to lose and sometimes that’s quite dangerous for other teams, when you’ve nothing to lose, a wounded animal. We have to take the handbrake off and go for it against England.

“If there’s ever a game the group will be motivated for, it’d be that one. We’ve shown in the past against quality teams, we can match them. We need to dig deep against England, they’re a top side.”

Mepham struggled to explain Wales’ loss to Iran but accepted they were below par in both defence and attack.

He added: “Everyone was really motivated, it wasn’t for a lack of trying. I just thought attacking-wise it didn’t click and defensively we looked vulnerable, which isn’t like us.

“We’ve shown over a period of time now that defensively we’ve been really solid and that wasn’t attacking-wise or defensively wasn’t where we want to be. I can’t put my finger on it.”