‘A lot needs to happen’ for Ched Evans to return to Wales fold

Evans has resumed his career at Chesterfield where he has scored four times in 12 games

Ched Evans celebrates scoring one of his four goals so far this season for Chesterfield. Photograph: Ker Robertson/Getty Images

Ched Evans celebrates scoring one of his four goals so far this season for Chesterfield. Photograph: Ker Robertson/Getty Images

 

Wales manager Chris Coleman feels “a lot needs to happen” for Ched Evans to resurrect his international career.

Evans won 13 caps for Wales before he was originally convicted of raping a 19-year-old woman in a Premier Inn near Rhyl, North Wales, in May 2011.

The former Manchester City and Sheffield United striker served two-and-a-half years of a five-year prison sentence before his conviction was quashed, and he was acquitted following a retrial.

Evans has resumed his career at Sky Bet League One club Chesterfield, and the 27-year-old has scored four times in 12 appearances for the Spireites.

But Coleman indicated he needs to be playing at a higher level to come into contention for Wales.

“From the football side of it, he has missed a lot of football,” Coleman said when announcing his squad for next week’s World Cup qualifier against Serbia in Cardiff.

“I don’t know Ched personally — I’ve never met the boy. He was playing at a certain level before this situation occurred, and now he is playing at a different level.

“He has missed a lot of football, and since he has been away a lot has happened to this team. There are a lot of players in front of him.

“From a football perspective, a lot needs to happen.

“The boys I am looking at compete at a level we need them to compete at, to continue where we have been in the last two or three years.

“If anyone is going to make an impact on that, they need to be at least playing at the highest level and doing the business at the highest level.”

Aaron Ramsey and Jonathan Williams both figure in the Wales squad for the first time in the current campaign after suffering early-season injuries.

Ramsey played 75 minutes of Arsenal’s Champions League victory over Ludogorets in Bulgaria on Tuesday night — his first start since the opening day of the season following a hamstring injury.

But Coleman called the playmaker’s inclusion a “no-brainer” despite his limited action this season.

“He played 75 minutes last night, and he looks fit,” Coleman said.

“It was a no-brainer. He is a huge part of what we are trying to do — a massive part of that with the talent he possesses.

“It was pleasing to see he got so much game-time, and he got an assist for the second goal, so that’s fantastic for us.

“We have never taken risks with players, and we wouldn’t with Aaron.

“With somebody as good as Aaron, something is better than nothing, but we will have to wait and see after this weekend.”

In-form Stoke midfielder Joe Allen also returns after missing the disappointing 1-1 draw against Georgia last month with a hamstring problem.

Allen is Stoke’s top marksman with four goals and has also scored in his last two Wales appearances, against Moldova and Austria.

And Coleman expressed his delight that star man Gareth Bale had put to paper on a six-year contract with Spanish giants Real Madrid.

“That’s where he belongs — he belongs at that level. He belongs in that spotlight,” Coleman said.

“When he first moved from Tottenham to Real Madrid, I said then he would get better and better, and he has.

“Two Champions Leagues in three years is an unbelievable return.

“You have to look at him as probably the most successful player to come from this way to go that way (abroad). To do what he has done is absolutely amazing.

“If you could put together a player with all the best attributes, he’s got them all. He is only going to get better.

“I think it is a great signing for Madrid, and it is obviously great for Gareth, because they are a fantastic football club.”

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