Congratulations to Doncaster Rovers’ club captain Brian Stock who received his second full international cap for Wales in today’s friendly against Croatia. Stock was named in the starting XI as a deleted Welsh side took to the field to face Slavan Bilic’s side in Gradski vrt. And though Wales ultimately lost out 2-0 there was much encouragement in Stock’s performance as he looks to secure a place in the side ahead of the Autumn’s European Championship qualifying games.
Stock may not have made as many waves as he did in his first game, but then he didn’t have the quality of players around him (at least not in the same kit) to help him really pull strings. But he did still make a telling contribution, his excellent through ball releasing Simon Church with the scores still level, but the Reading forward couldn’t square for Rob Earnshaw. After taking a whack in the mouth in the first half Stock was eventually substituted on the hour mark. Having watched Wales for a long time as I have its clear that Stock brings a vital component to the team. He always offers the short pass to his defenders and his fellow midfielders to increase their options, and tries to bring an element of patience to the build up and stop them whacking long high balls up to tiny strikers (as they did so infuriatingly against Finland the other year).
The hope remains that even someone as close minded and stubborn as John Toshack must recognise what Stock brings. That said, despite Aaron Ramsey’s likely absense for the early qualifying matches Stock is still up against decent players for a palce in the midfield in the form of David Edwards, Simon Davies, Andy King, Joe Ledley, Jack Collison and Andy Dorman. As the latter only made his debut today you would assume Stock above him in the pecking order, and arguably in front of King now too, so given inevitable pull-outs Stock has a strong chance of starting the first game in Montenegro.