Aberdeen winger Ryan Hedges has vowed to impress at club level to ensure he doesn’t miss out on Wales squads.
The 24-year-old was not selected by Dragons boss Ryan Giggs for this week’s Euro 2020 qualifiers against Slovakia and World Cup finalists Croatia.
Hedges was named in Giggs’ previous squad for the 2-1 Euro qualifying defeat of Azerbaijan and 1-0 friendly win against Belarus last month, but did not get game time.
Still in the fledgling stages of his international career, Hedges aims to force his way into the reckoning for competitive games by shining for the Dons.
A summer signing, having rejected a new contract at Barnsley, the winger’s impact has been one of the positives of a frustrating start to the season for Derek McInnes’s Dons.
Hedges insists his best is yet to come and he hopes when he hits top form it will bring selection for future Wales squads.
He said: “I have been happy enough with my start for Aberdeen and have also managed to score a few goals.
“However, I know there is a lot more to come from me.
“Playing games for Aberdeen will help my cause with Wales and since signing I have started nearly every game this season.
“I think the manager (McInnes) has faith and confidence in me to perform. I need to keep performing so I stay in the team and hopefully that can help my cause with Wales.”
Although Hedges did not receive game time when with Wales last month, he did have the benefit of training with the squad for a week.
Hedges made his Welsh debut in the 1-1 friendly draw with Panama last November.
His last appearance was when starting in the 1-0 friendly defeat of Trinidad in March.
The experience of training alongside players like Real Madrid’s four-time Champions League Winner Gareth Bale and Juventus’ Aaron Ramsay is invaluable to the winger.
He said: “Every single player would want to represent their nation and I am no different.
“To get the opportunity to go away with Wales is huge. The squad has players like Gareth Bale and you obviously learn as much as you can from him.
“To watch him for a week to 10 days is an unbelievable experience.
“The Welsh squad is a bit like Aberdeen, as there are no big egos. With Wales everyone is friendly and it is a good group to be involved in.”
Wales are set to face Slovakia away tomorrow night before hosting defeated World Cup finalists Croatia and Ballon d’Or winner Luka Modric in Cardiff on Sunday.
Wales’ qualifier in Slovakia will be played at an empty stadium.
Uefa ordered the match be played behind closed doors after penalising the Slovakian Football Association for racist chants by fans.
Slovakia were sanctioned under Uefa’s disciplinary process for the behaviour of their away fans in a qualifier against Hungary on September 9.
Wales trail second-placed Slovakia by three points but have a game in hand. The Welsh are bidding to reach a second successive Euros, having made the semi-finals in 2016.
Hedges: “Hopefully we can get two good results from the qualifiers with Slovakia and Croatia as that would put is in good stead for Euro qualification. Playing Slovakia behind closed doors will be a completely different environment and experience that the team will have to deal with.”
Having missed out on selection for the qualifiers, Hedges will use this week to focus on training with the Dons ahead of the games with Motherwell and Celtic after the international break.
Having had six players injured for the 1-1 draw with Hibs, there are hopes that injury crisis could lessen in time to face Well.
Hedges said: “The gaffer has had to rely on some youngsters to come in and shine.
“Dean Campbell has stepped into big shoes to fill in for Funso Ojo and Craig Bryson.
“He has come in and has done really well, which shows the strength in depth we have.”