Ryan Hedges witnessed arguably Welsh football’s greatest night as a fan – now when they return to a major tournament he wants to make an impact on the pitch.
But to be there the winger knows he needs to hit top form for Aberdeen.
Wales qualified for next year’s European Championships last month with wins over Azerbaijan and Hungary.
Hedges was called into Ryan Giggs’ squad for the second game in Cardiff and was part of the celebrations as Aaron Ramsey’s brace secured the Dragons’ place at the Euros, where they will play Turkey, Italy and Switzerland.
For Wales it’s a return to a major tournament for the first time since the 2016 Euros, where they embarked on a stunning run to the semi-finals.
Don Hedges – who has three international caps – wants to be part of the squad for the finals.
But to achieve that the 24-year-old knows he needs to be firing for the Reds.
Hedges, who has only been used as a sub in the 2-2 draw with Rangers and 3-0 loss to Hibs, said: “It was a great feeling to be part of the squad for the last international camp.
“It was made even sweeter to qualify. Now I’ve got to work even harder to get into that Euros squad and into the squad for the friendlies in March.
“That is a big ambition for me and if I’m giving my all at Aberdeen then that should help my chances with Wales internationally.
“Domestically I want to do as well as I can for Aberdeen and hopefully that helps me with Wales.”
The highlight of Wales’ great run at the Euros three years ago in France was beating Belgium 3-1 in the quarter-final with Hal Robson-Kanu’s finish to make it 2-1 particularly memorable.
Hedges was in the stands supporting his country in Lille that night and wants to experience something similar on the pitch next year.
He added: “I was out in France for the Belgium game.
“I was there in the stands when Hal Robson-Kanu turned Thomas Meunier and Marouane Fellaini inside out. What a great feeling that was but obviously being there as a player next year would be even sweeter.
“That’s the favourite game of football I’ve watched as a fan and it would be great to be involved as a player.”
Hedges believes one of the reasons for the Welsh success is that there is a club-like spirit within the squad and he said: “Everyone in the squad is pulling in the same direction and working for the benefit of the team.
“It’s not just the players on the pitch, but the whole squad and the backroom team.
“Everybody has a role and responsibility and it’s great to qualify for the Euros again.
“The focus is on that for Wales and hopefully I’ll be there and part of it as a player and not as a fan.
“The group that went to the Euros is still there and you can see the togetherness and unity of the Welsh squad.
“There are youngsters like myself who have come through since the Euros and everyone who is introduced to the squad buys into that togetherness and I think it shows.”
Wales’ star man is Real Madrid attacker Gareth Bale and while he has had a very public fall-out with his club, on international duty Hedges says he is someone to learn from.
He said: “Gareth’s a top professional.
“I don’t know the ins and outs of his situation with Real Madrid.
“But when he comes away with Wales he’s a top pro and you try to learn whatever you can from a great player like that and he is top class.
“Being a left-footed winger he is somebody I try to look up to and take little things from his game.
“He’s a great player and hopefully he can continue the form he’s in with Wales.
“In the Welsh squad he’s not on a pedestal and there’s a great camaraderie within the group.
“Everyone is together and there’s not one player leading the squad, it’s a collective.”