Welsh Euro-flop spoils Jacobson’s comeback party

By Danny Caro, October 17, 2008

Joe Jacobson was this week reflecting on one of the biggest disappointments of his career after Wales Under 21s missed out on a place in next summer's Euro Championships.

Returning from a five-month spell on the sidelines after tearing his medial ligament in pre-season, left-back Jacobson was unable to help Brian Flynn's men overturn a first leg deficit, though they came close to forcing extra time at Villa Park.

Going into Tuesday night's playoff second leg trailing 3-2, Wales took the lead twice only to be pegged back to 2-2. They hit the post in the closing stages which, had the shot gone in, would have taken the match into extra time.

Playing his last match for the Under 21s, Jacobson played at centre half, marking Aston Villa's Gabby Agbonlahor. He said: "After an 18-month qualifying campaign, it all came down to the width of a post. England looked tired and I felt that had it gone to extra time we would've gone on to win.

"I would have preferred to have played badly and gone through. Missing out on the finals is one of the biggest disappointments of my career. It would have put Wales on the map and been amazing to play in Sweden.

"Personally, I thought I did well, considering it was only the second time in my career that I played in the middle. It was my first game back from injury which is always the hardest. The manager was pleased with me and wished me all the best and told me to get into the senior team.

"I enjoyed playing against top Premier League players and want to be playing at that level week in, week out. It can only improve my game."

Jacobson, 21, now hopes to help Bristol Rovers push on in the League One. He said: "We made a shaky start but are now on a roll. We're aiming for the play-offs."

The Welshman represented Great Britain as a junior at the Maccabiah Games in 2001 but he will not be in Israel for next year's event. "I can't see Rovers letting me go," he said. "I'm in the final year of a two-year contract and have got to get back into the team following my injury. I need to play games and earn a new contract."

Bradford City boss Stuart McCall is keen to extend Dean Furman's loan until the end of the season.
The Rangers midfielder, whose loan finishes in January, has made seven appearances for the League Two club.

"I'm pleased with what Dean's done and I still believe there's more to come from him. His game has got a bit of everything," said McCall.

Last updated: 3:21pm, October 16 2008