ROBBIE Savage believes Chris Coleman can carry on the great work of his lifelong friend Gary Speed but is doubtful as to whether Wales have the quality to reach the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Savage, always an outspoken player and now enjoying great success as a pundit was a key part of the Wales squad under Mark Hughes which came within a game of ending the Principality’s long hiatus from football’s top tournaments in 2003.

He left the international scene after a bust-up with then boss John Toshack in 2006 having earned 39 caps but is backing Coleman to continue the fine work achieved under the late Speed, who presided over four wins in five games before his untimely death last November.

“Gary had a wonderful time and I think Chris Coleman can keep that going,” Savage told the Argus.

“He’s of that era with guys like Mark Hughes and of course Gary and I think he has learned a similar philosophy and training methods. I think he’ll do really well for Wales.

“He’s a great guy and these are very difficult circumstances but I am sure he will grab the opportunity with both hands and do it for Gary as well as Wales.

“We were obviously so close to qualifying for a major tournament under Mark Hughes and this squad is very similar to that one in my opinion. Gareth Bale is like Ryan Giggs just not as good yet, Steve Morison is similar to John Hartson but not quite as good yet and there is a big question mark over whether or not Craig Bellamy plays, I am not sure he will.

“Ashley Williams is a defensive leader like Chris Coleman was for Wales but they have to prove it in a qualifying campaign to prove they are as good or maybe even better than the Mark Hughes side.

“I hope they can do it because I want to go and watch Wales in a major tournament.

>>>> Savage was speaking at Graig Y Rhacca FC as part of the ‘Transform Your Patch’ initiative for which he is an ambassador. For more details visit