Impressive Jazz Richards gives Coleman right-back conundrum

Whilst Chris Coleman is sampling the acclaim and praise for steering the Wales team through a hugely successful qualification campaign, the Wales manager is also starting to reap the rewards of increased competition for places within his squad.

The return to fitness of James Chester for this afternoon’s huge game in Cardiff just does that.

In the absence of the West Brom defender, Coleman settled on a three-man defence to face Cyprus of Chris Gunter, Ashley Williams and Ben Davies with Jazz Richards and Neil Taylor supporting on the flanks.

Richards, now at Fulham, has used the Welsh campaign as a springboard to showcase his talent.

Coleman highly rates the 24-year-old and he believes Richards’ ability to perform consistently and play with composure under specific instructions to be a real asset.

A steady performance capped off by a fine assist in what was an awkward game in Nicosia on Thursday night will have further validated Richards’ importance within the squad.

With Chester returning to availability, Coleman will be pondering whether to reshuffle a defence which kept a clean-sheet against Cyprus.

Chester will, presumably, return to central defence alongside Williams and Davies but where does that leave Chris Gunter? He would normally be first-choice for the right-back role but after another steady showing from Richards, he may well find himself dropping down to the bench.

Concerns about the lack of depth in the Wales squad have been historic but Jazz Richards’ emergence in qualifying will give Coleman additional options as he can begin to consider his assault on Euro 2016.

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