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Chris Coleman predicts young players will make Wales squad 'stronger'

Credit: PA Images

Chris Coleman expects Wales to have a better squad in 12 months' time than the one that reached the semi-finals of Euro 2016.

Coleman has yet to nail down his Wales future with talks over a new deal set to resume after Tuesday's friendly with World Cup-bound Panama in Cardiff.

But Coleman is expected to agree a two-year contract and lead Wales into the Euro 2020 campaign after missing out on the 2018 World Cup finals.

Talented young trio Ben Woodburn, Ethan Ampadu and David Brooks - who all came on as second-half substitutes in Friday night's 2-0 defeat to France in Paris - are set to play a part in Euro 2020 and offer Wales fresh hope for the future.

"In 12 months, the squad that will be available to Wales will be better than what we took to the tournament in France last year.

"This will be a transitional period, but these young boys are going to make us stronger.

"We've got a few more on the bench that we need to blood, between now and then we'll give these young boys as much experience as we can.

"International football is completely different to domestic football because unless you're on the pitch and experiencing it, you don't know what it's about."

– Chris Coleman, Wales Manager

Liverpool forward Woodburn became an instant hit in September when he scored a World Cup winner against Austria within five minutes of coming off the bench.

The Paris defeat was his fifth appearance as a substitute, while Chelsea teenager Ampadu and Sheffield United striker Brooks made encouraging debuts at the Stade de France.

Ampadu, in particular, caught the eye in midfield with his composure on the ball, though he is just at home in central defence.

All three youngsters are set to start against Panama at the Cardiff City Stadium when Coleman is expected to field an experimental line-up.

Wales' Ethan Ampadu in action at Stade de France Credit: PA photo

"Woody (Woodburn) has played a bit for us, but for Brooks and Ampadu it was a fantastic experience playing against France.

"The taste of playing here against one of the best teams in the world is invaluable and they are going to get better and stronger.

"We're a bit subdued because we lost the game, but there's other things we need to focus on. So it's not all doom and gloom.

"I've been in football long enough to know how it works, but I, we have to be patient.

"They are good young players, and they know they've got it all to do, but the potential is there."

– Chris Coleman, Wales Manager