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Sunday 24 March 2019
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Bateau: We must be ready for Wales test

TT defender Sheldon Bateau
TT defender Sheldon Bateau

TT European-based defender Sheldon Bateau is challenging his team-mates to be in their best shape for the upcoming international friendly against Wales on March 20 at the Racecourse in Wrexham.

Bateau, who penned a one-year deal with Norway top flight club Sarpsborg 08 FF this week, said his next line of focus will be the upcoming clash with the Welsh outfit led by head coach and former Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs.

He said, “To my team-mates, all I can say is be ready for this. Some of them are still into season – which is a good thing. The other ones like myself are in preseason and there are some who haven’t started for whatever reason. This is a game that could change your life, it can change your career.”

Bateau continued, “It’s a very good opportunity for us as players. We should set a goal to do well in this game and accept the challenge – and not only accept the challenge but to compete and get a result. I think everyone should be really motivated for this game because I am and I'm sure the other players are as well. We just need to continue working as a team. We haven’t played together for a while but that is minor, because to me, once every player prepared and ready to do the work and understand their roles, I believe we can get a good result in this game.”

Wales’ last win was a 1-0 victory over Republic of Ireland in October. They lost their last encounter 1-0 in a friendly to Albania in November. They will play Slovakia in a Euro 2020 qualifier four days after facing TT.

The TT defender added, “For me, this game is the big target right (now) because my season is starting at the end of March. It’s the only thing on my mind right now after having signed with a new team. It’s a new challenge but at the same time international football is a different feeling and level, so my focus is to be ready for the game against Wales.”

Bateau hailed the quality of the Wales team which boasts Real Madrid star Gareth Bale, Arsenal's Aaron Ramsey and Stoke City's Joe Allen.

He said, “This is a huge challenge and is one we shall welcome as a country to play against a team (with) world class players, apart from Gareth Bale. It will be a good challenge to see where we are at and how much work we need to put in before the Gold Cup. We all know what Wales is capable of and I think we as players should be up for the game. As players, you live for games like this. It will definitely be a tough game but I think we will be ready in time for it.”

TT head coach Dennis Lawrence is expected to announce his squad around the second week of March. Giggs is slated to announce the Wales roster around March 12.

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