Date: 28th March 2011 at 9:45am
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Wales boss Gary Speed has praised midfielder Andy King for his tireless performance in the defeat to England on Saturday.

King was selected to fill in for the injured Gareth Bale for Wales at the Millennium Stadium, but Speed admitted he was pleased with the young midfielder’s work-rate.

“I thought he did well,” the Welsh chief told the Leicester Mercury.

“He has played there a couple of times and he is good at that. Obviously, with losing Gareth, we didn’t have a natural wide left player.

“It was difficult for him, obviously, especially in the first half the way England played and closed us down. He didn’t get much joy but he ran his heart out.”

The 22-year-old is enjoying life in the first team under Speed, but is yet to be on the winning side under the former Newcastle man’s tenure.

The Welsh were hit for three by the Republic of Ireland last month in Speed’s first match in charge, but the new man believes he can build a Wales side for the future to qualify for the next World Cup.

“In two years’ time, we will benefit a great deal from that, hopefully.

“If we keep that spirit that we saw in the second half and keep trying to play football, I think it’s very, very encouraging.

“We can move on and look to the future and improve as time goes by. This will go a long way to getting more confidence and mentally strong as a team.

“Even if we had won we wouldn’t have qualified from this group.

“But, by the time the next World Cup qualifying campaign starts in August 2012, we want to be in a position to compete.

“We have a strategy and a plan, and that is where we want to be – to make sure we have a great chance of qualifying for the World Cup.”