Big Sam is out to make Burnley history
Striker Sam Vokes is in line to become the first Burnley player to make an appearance at a European Championship Finals tomorrow when Wales open their Group B campaign at Stade de Bordeaux against Slovakia at 5 p.m.
Vokes could start for Chris Coleman’s side, on the back of a terrific run of form which saw him score 12 goals in his last 21 outings for the Clarets, to end the season with 16 and a second promotion to the Premier League in three seasons.
Wales meet England in Lens on Thursday in their second group game, but while that Battle of Britain will capture most attention, Vokes is only focused on making a good start to the country’s first appearance at a major finals since 1958: “I think it’s worked out well with our group to be honest with you, with England being the middle game.
“It’s a big day, but we’ll be focusing on the first one.
“Slovakia is a big game for us and we want to get off to a good start.
“It would be great to start the game.
“I’ve always said if you’re doing well with your club then hopefully you’ll get a chance for your country.
“It’s been a big thing for me. I was gutted to miss most of the qualifying campaign through injury last time round so it would be nice to get a good run-out this summer.”
And the Lymington-born frontman believes Wales can cause an upset in France in a group which also includes Russia, who take on England tomorrow evening at 8 p.m.
Wales can call on the likes of Champions League winner Gareth Bale and Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey, and Vokes said: “We truly believe we can cause a stir.
“Every time we meet up we talk about it and how strong we are and our strengths in the squad.
“We know we can go there and cause upsets – we did in the group.
“With Belgium we took four points off them and they were second in the world at the time. We’ll go there full of confidence.”
Vokes couldn’t ask for a better supply line than Bale, and he added: “He’s a massive talent and around him there’s 11 other lads who work their socks off for him.
“He’s a great talent.
“I think he has stepped up a level. He’s a fantastic player.
“For me as a striker to work with someone like that who’ll get you chances all day and takes a few himself.”