This Wales XI that never made it to a major tournament is pretty decent

Updated: 

Gareth Bale and his team-mates hardly need telling how significant their place at this summer's Euro 2016 tournament will be as they end Wales' 58-year absence from a major tournament.

In that long period some world-class talents have missed the opportunity to grace the biggest stages for their country and so our sports writer Phil Blanche has gone through to pick his Best Wales XI never to play at a major tournament. It's a handy team!

Neville Southall

Neville Southall
(Neal Simpson/EMPICS Sport)

Arguably the best goalkeeper in the world in his 1980s prime and Wales' record holder with 92 caps. Went close to qualifying for major tournament several times, but had to rely on Everton's domestic and European success to savour glory.

Mark Delaney

Wales defender Mark Delaney
(John Walton/EMPICS Sport)

The pacey right-back began his career in the Welsh Premier League before being spotted by Cardiff. Joined Aston Villa for a bargain £250,000 in 1999 and went on to make nearly 200 appearances before injury cut short his career.

Gary Speed

Gary Speed
(Dave Munden/EMPICS Sport)

Served his clubs superbly in midfield, but Wales sometimes used him as a left-back given their greater midfield options and his flexibility. The former Leeds and Newcastle man had began embarking on a promising managerial career with Wales before his tragic death at the age of 42.

Kevin Ratcliffe

Kevin Ratcliffe
(Neal Simpson/EMPICS Sport)

Lightning quick central defender who, like Southall, was a key component of Everton's success in the mid-1980s. Led Everton to FA Cup glory at the tender age of 23 as well as winning the league twice, also captain of Wales many times during his 59 appearances.

Mike England

Mike England
(Peter Robinson/EMPICS Sport)

Reliable centre-half who played for Blackburn and Tottenham in the top-flight and never let his country down in his 44 appearances. Went on to manage Wales and took them so close to qualifying several times during his reign from 1980-88.

Terry Yorath

Terry Yorath
(Phil O'Brien/EMPICS Sport)

Tough-tackling and hard-working midfielder who played for Leeds and Tottenham in the 1970s and early 1980s. Went on to manage his country and came within the width of a crossbar of leading Wales to the 1994 World Cup when Paul Bodin failed from the spot.

Craig Bellamy

Wales' Craig Bellamy
(John Walton/PA)

Attitude and ability in equal measure. The striker loved nothing more than a moan during a career which took in the likes of Celtic, Liverpool, Manchester City and Newcastle, but he possessed clever movement and electric pace to test the best defences.

Mark Hughes

Mark Hughes
(Barry Batchelor/PA)

Fearsome striker who enjoyed a glittering career at Manchester United, Barcelona and Chelsea in the 1980s and 1990s. Scored some sensational goals for Wales, but filled a midfield role to great effect later in his career with so many attacking options in the squad.

Ian Rush

Ian Rush
(Graham Chadwick/EMPICS Sport)

Deadly finisher who became Liverpool's record goalscorer either side of a one-season spell at Juventus. Helped Liverpool dominate English football in the 1980s, but joined the long list of Welsh greats never to play at a major tournament despite a record 28 goals for his country.

John Hartson

Wales's John Hartson
(Rebecca Naden/PA)

Old-fashioned targetman who could outmuscle the strongest defender and bring others into play with a good touch on the ball. Made his mark in the Premier League at Arsenal and West Ham in the 1990s before heading north of the border to become a Celtic hero.

Ryan Giggs

Ryan Giggs
(Peter Morrison/AP/PA)

Tormented full-backs for years with his pace, balance and skill. When the legs slowed his vision allowed him to slot into central midfield. Became English football's most decorated player in two decades at Manchester United as he suffered a couple of near-misses with Wales.