If you open up the dictionary and look up the word stubborn you will find no description, nor explanation, just a picture of John Toshack in a Wales tracksuit with his chin resting on his right hand. Belive me, as a Wales fan its a picture I’ve seen far too many times. Still it seems the Iron Manager may well be for turning after all with suggestions in the Welsh press that Rovers’ Brian Stock could be set for a recall to Tochack’s latest Wales squad, to be announced on Friday.
Both WalesOnline and the BBC website report that Stock is likely to be named in the 23 man Wales squad to face Russia at the Millennium Stadium on Wednesday. If true the call-up will come a year after Stock was last called up for the national side, when they faced Azerbaijan and Russia this time last season. Left out the Azerbaijan game Stock was reportedly poised to come off the bench in Moscow only for Toshack to change his tactics and throw on Wrexham defender Steve Evans instead. It was the second time that Stock had been an unused substitute for Wales having also sat on the bench in Luxembourg in February 2008 alongside then fellow Rover Stephen Roberts who was also unused by Toshack.
Unfortunately for Stock, his persistent back injury, which was first flagged up by the Welsh national side’s medical staff in August last year as they sent him home from the squad for a friendly match with Georgia, has given Stock something of a poor reputation amongst many Wales fans who feel that he pulled out to put club over country. Even if that were the case Stock himself has only pulled out of one Wales squad, withdrawing from the national set-up in October last night following concerns of the Rovers medical staff who did not feel the travelling would be benefitial to his injury. However, such is the mantra of Toshack, upset him once and though shall never return. and so Stock has been omitted from each subsequent national squad.
However, with the retirements of Carl Robinson and Carl Fletcher in the past year, plus an injury to Simon Davies Toshack’s side, although talented, is suddenly lacking ‘experience’ in the midfield. There is no doubting the potential and ability of Aaron Ramsey, Jack Collison and Joe Ledley amongst others, but suddenly Toshack’s midfield seems adrift without an anchor role. And Stock appears bto have been handed another slice of luck with the scheduling of Rovers match against Cardiff just before this international break bringing him back to the attention of the Welsh press. Indeed commentating on the game Kevin Ratcliffe is reported to have noted that Stock and John Oster were certainly worth consideration from Toshack.
The Wales squad is announced tomorrow, should Brian Stock be included then Viva Rovers will bring you live twitter coverage of Wales match with Russia next Wednesday as Stock could become Rovers’ first Welsh international in over seventy years.