2019 World Cup qualifier: Jayne Ludlow says Wales have no 'grudge' with England
|2019 World Cup qualifier: Wales v England|
|Venue: Rodney Parade, Newport Date: Friday, 31 August Kick-off: 19:45 BST|
|Coverage: Live on BBC Two and BBC Two Wales, BBC Radio 5 live sports extra (Radio Cymru commentary available on the Red Button and online) and BBC Radio Wales|
Wales women’s boss Jayne Ludlow says Friday’s vital home World Cup qualifier against England is not a “grudge match”.
Ludlow was responding to comments from England counterpart Phil Neville about the match at Rodney Parade.
The winners in Newport will qualify automatically for the 2019 World Cup.
“[A grudge match] is the last thing I would want my players to be thinking about in that changing room. They have to focus on their jobs,” she said.
Wales are a point ahead of England in Group 1, having played one game more.
Defeat for England will end their chances of automatic qualification, but a draw would mean they needed victory in Kazakhstan in their final match on 4 September to top the group.
Wales held England to a 0-0 draw at St Mary’s in the reverse fixture, but Ludlow says the game generated no ill-feeling between the two sides.
“If they are focusing on the fact there is bad feeling in any shape or form, because we took a point from them, then that’s obviously what [Neville] feels is the right way to go for his players,” Ludlow told BBC Sport Wales.
“But for us it is the opposite. We are very happy with our performances during the campaign. We just focus on what happens to be the last game and one we are determined to enjoy.
“We want to qualify [and doing it at the expense of England] does not make a difference to us.
“We respect them as the top-ranked side in the group. But nothing changes for us, we respect the opposition.”
Rodney Parade ‘works for Wales’
Ludlow says the Football Association of Wales made the right choice in staging the match at Rodney Parade.
The decision has been criticised because of the limited capacity of the ground that hosts League Two men’s side Newport County, and rugby sides the Dragons and Newport, but Ludlow says a move to a bigger stadium would have played into England’s hands.
“It’s our home game, it is our choice, we have chosen it because it works for us,” she said.
“We’ve had good results and performances here and it is close to our training base.
“The fact is, at the moment, if we took the game to a 30,000-seat stadium, it probably would not be filled. If it was filled, it would be filled with English people and that’s not necessarily what we want for this game.
“The routine for us playing here works really well. The pitch is fantastic; anyone who grew up in Wales knows there are much worse surfaces we could have chosen.”