Leighton James column: Ash must sit out Wales ties
ASHLEY Williams must miss the next two Wales games if he needs rest to cure his ankle problem.
The Swansea City centre-back sat out the 2-1 defeat to Arsenal last Saturday and will also be absent for tonight's Europa League clash with St Gallen.
He seems to have been nursing an injured ankle for most of the season, and Michael Laudrup revealed last week that Ashley needs a couple of weeks' respite to resolve the issue.
And as far as I'm concerned, the international break that follows Sunday's match at Southampton is the perfect time for Ash to put his feet up.
I would never say that any Wales match is unimportant.
Every time you pull on that red jersey it is a special moment.
But in terms of priorities, Wales's games against Macedonia and Belgium have to be bottom of the list for Ash.
Though the national side's time together is precious as they look to launch a more sustained qualification bid, this campaign is definitely dead.
Wales have no chance of reaching next year's finals in Brazil.
And when you look at what else Ash has on the agenda, Premier League commitments, Europa League games and an FA Cup campaign starting in the new year, it seems obvious to me that these international games are the ones to miss.
I'm sure Swansea see it like that, Ash probably does too, and it's also in Wales's best interests to get the problem sorted out as soon as possible.
Ash was not the only key player missing when Arsenal visited five days ago.
Angel Rangel also had an ankle injury, while Leon Britton and Wilfried Bony started on the bench as Laudrup continued his rotation policy.
I understand there is some need to shuffle your pack in the modern game, especially as this season Swansea have the added demands of playing in Europe.
But I'm not sure players need to be used so sparingly.
The domestic workload hasn't changed, you still have to play league fixtures along with games in the FA and League Cup.
In my day the majority of players would be involved in most of the matches — and I enjoyed that.
I found you needed a run of games to develop a rhythm and find your best form.
Getting thrust into the first team and then hauled out would not have suited me.
It is not just about gaining personal momentum; as a team it is difficult for partnerships to bed in when the personnel are altering all the time.
I know the fact Jose Canas was preferred to Britton last weekend did not go down too well with some fans.
But the Spaniard has got an almost impossible task when he comes in for a player as popular as Leon.
I think Canas is a good player. He is still adjusting to football in this country and will continue to improve.
It has also surprised some to see Bony start so many matches on the bench.
I'm not sure exactly what Michael's thinking is on this one, but all I will say is I think we have to trust him.
Laudrup has not made too many mistakes since taking over at the Liberty, so I'm prepared to back his judgement.
Perhaps Bony is nursing an injury or maybe he is not fully fit after a disrupted pre-season.