Burnley defender Connor Roberts eyeing an “incredible” piece of history with Wales ahead of World Cup play-off

Burnley right back Connor Roberts is excited to play his part in what could be an "incredible" piece of World Cup history with Wales.

By Dan Black
Wednesday, 23rd March 2022, 6:00 am

The Red Dragons face Austria in a play-off at a sold-out Cardiff City Stadium on Thursday, with the winners then due to face Scotland or Ukraine, whose tie has been postponed, for a place in Qatar.

Should they succeed, and join England in the pot for the draw in Doha on Friday, April 1st, it would be the first time the Welsh have qualified for the finals of the tournament since Sweden 1958, when Pelé's goal decided their quarter-final against Brazil.

That was the nation's first and last appearance in the latter stages of the FIFA competition. Roberts, who had to wait patiently to make his full Premier League debut for Burnley, said: "That was obviously playing on my mind.

Sign up to our daily Burnley Express Today newsletter

CARDIFF, WALES - NOVEMBER 13: Connor Roberts of Wales scores their side's fifth goal during the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifier match between Wales and Belarus at Cardiff City Stadium on November 13, 2021 in Cardiff, Wales.

"I really wanted to get in the Burnley team and play some football so I can go there in top fitness. Wales have not qualified for a World Cup for quite some time [1958 in Sweden] so to do it and be a part of that would be incredible!

"Going there, playing for Wales, is always the best thing ever. The English will never really understand how proud I get when I'm standing there singing the national anthem and then playing with the dragon on your chest."

The 26-year-old, who has now made 11 appearances for the Clarets in the Premier League, has 34 caps for his country, scoring three goals, including his late finish against Turkey in the European Championship finals at the Baku National Stadium in Azerbaijan.

The ex-Swansea City defender is confident his nation can extend their seven-game unbeaten run against the Austrians, who have won three of their last four competitive fixtures since losing out to the Scots in Vienna in September.

BURNLEY, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 23: Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg of Tottenham Hotspur is challenged by Connor Roberts of Burnley during the Premier League match between Burnley and Tottenham Hotspur at Turf Moor on February 23, 2022 in Burnley, England.

"It's incredible so I'm looking forward to it," said Roberts. "It's a big change going there from Burnley; different team-mates, different types of games, and hopefully we can get the win. It will be an occasion.

"We've got a great team and probably the best team that Wales have had for a long while. We've got Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey, who is now starting to play again. We're as confident as we can be."