Koumas itching to prove a point
By Oliver Bhurrut
JASON Koumas heads into Saturday's "dream" World Cup qualifying clash
against England warning: "Write us off at your peril."
The Welsh wizard is itching to get going against Sven-Goran Eriksson's men
at Old Trafford (ko 3pm) in their crucial Group Six encounter.
And he is aiming to give Mark Hughes, who scored the winner the last time
the two countries met in 1984, a rousing send off in his final two games as
Dragons boss, with Wednesday's Millennium Stadium match against Poland to
"People have started to write us off already because we've only got two
points out of the first two games and because Mark Hughes is leaving, but
being underdogs is okay by us," said Koumas.
"It lowers the expectations a bit and it gives us something to prove, to
show people that we are a good team.
"We don't get the chance to do that much against England because we don't
play them very often, so we're determined to make the most of the
The Baggies ace, who has nine caps and one goal to his name, added: "We're
all really disappointed that Mark Hughes is moving on now because he's a
brilliant manager to work under, a great coach and I've got a huge amount of
respect for him.
"He's a very quiet fella but he gets his point across very effectively and I
think we've all enjoyed playing for him. It'll be sad to see him go, but
good luck to him at Blackburn.
"But these last two games are very important and he knows that which is why
he's staying on and then giving the Welsh FA time to appoint his successor
for next year's games.
"It'd be a brilliant way to give him the right send off by beating England
and that would set things up nicely for whoever it is that replaces him.
"We really think we can get something out of this one, we honestly do."
The Baggies midfield ace is looking forward to pitting his wits against the
likes of David Beckham and Frank Lampard in the international arena.
And he believes the two games between the two sides could have a huge impact
on the destiny of the group with Wales lying just two points behind
second-placed England and leaders Austria after two games.
"It's a game that I'm probably looking forward to more than any other one in
my career so far I suppose, not just because it's against England but
because it's playing against them in a match that really matters, a
qualifier for the World Cup. That takes it onto another level," Koumas
"These are the games you dream about playing in when you're a kid, when you
get the chance to go out on the same field as the best players in the world,
people like Michael Owen, David Beckham, Wayne Rooney and Frank Lampard.
"You want to go out there and see how you measure up against them, how your
ability fares against theirs and I'm really ready for it. I can't wait for
the game now.
"I think everybody in the Welsh camp has been thinking about this one ever
since the draw came out which seems like ages ago now, we've been desperate
to get the game on.
"And we honestly believe that the two games against England could decide how
the whole group is going to shape up really.
"Because of the way things went for us in Euro 2004 qualifying, you'd like
to think we're going to be fighting for the top two places again.
"It's a game we've got to get something out of and we're confident we will
because we think things are going our way."