Gary's Welsh hope

GARY Roberts heads for Cardiff later today hoping he will be returning to Wales next year wearing the red of his adopted country.Chester-born Roberts is looking to prove his eligibility to play for John Toshack's side because his grandmother was Welsh and is hunting out the paperwork to back his claim.

By Derek Davis

GARY Roberts heads for Cardiff later today hoping he will be returning to Wales next year wearing the red of his adopted country.

Chester-born Roberts is looking to prove his eligibility to play for John Toshack's side because his grandmother was Welsh and is hunting out the paperwork to back his claim.

The 19-year-old is already dreaming about a call-up for Wales' friendly against Northern Ireland in Belfast next February and the tricky winger, who was playing in the Conference last season with Accrington Stanley, admits he will pinch himself if he ends up training alongside Ryan Giggs and Craig Bellamy.


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Roberts said: “The Welsh FA think my nan was Welsh so I'm eligible to play for Wales. But before John Toshack can call me up they need to see her birth certificate to prove she was born in Wales.

“I haven't had a chance to do that yet - but I will do it before Wales' next game.

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“I would love to play for Wales. I would consider it a great honour.”

Roberts was turning out for Welsh minnows Bangor, Rhyl and Welshpool not so long ago.

But the ex-Liverpool trainee has seen his career take off since being off-loaded by Crewe in March, 2005, after making just four appearances for the Railwaymen.

He joined Accrington Stanley where he was dubbed the Scouse George Best and netted 23 goals in 60 league starts during his time at the Crown Ground, helping the Lancashire club regain its league status last May after a 44-year exile.

Roberts, who hit a spectacular first goal for Ipswich in their 2-1 loss at Derby last week, has proved a big hit at Portman Road since joining on loan last October and Town boss Jim Magilton is set to sign him on a permanent basis for £220,000 in January.

To secure a permanent move and win international honours for Wales, after representing England as a semi-professional international, would be an amazing upturn in fortunes.

The Ipswich ace added: “We think the Welsh link is on my mum's side.

“We're just going to have to sort through a few things and find her mum's birth certificate. I will be in touch with the Welsh FA shortly, although there's no real rush because the next international isn't until February.

“I would love to get a call-up. The Welsh FA seem keen about getting me on board because they've been in touch with my club about me.

“Our goalie at Ipswich, Lewis Price, is a member of the Wales squad and he says great things about it. Hopefully I'll be joining him in the squad next year.”

He continued: “I think I would be useful to John Toshack because I can play on the left and the right. I can also play up front and just off the striker.

“The gaffer at Ipswich is playing me on the right wing at the moment and I've managed to keep my place in the side.”

Roberts has a chance to impress the Welsh public tomorrow when Town face the Bluebirds at Ninian Park.

He said: “I'm not surprised Cardiff are doing well this season because they signed some great players and they've got a good manager in Dave Jones.

“But we'll be giving it a real go there. We'll be going to Cardiff thinking we can win the game.

“They've got a good home record - but anyone can beat anyone in this division. If we want to make the play-offs then we've go to start putting some wins together.”

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