Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau, or Land of My Fathers, might not come easily to all the players but Speed has enlisted the help of Courtenay Hamilton, who is the current Miss Wales 2010 and will sing the anthem on Saturday, to provide a few tips on how to hit the right notes before the England game.
"We are all learning it," said the Millwall striker Steve Morison, whose task is made slightly harder given that he was born in Enfield. "We have been given the Welsh version and the phonetic version. The lady who is singing the national anthem this Saturday gave us a lesson. We all had to get up and sing it on Sunday night. You can call it the X-Factor if you want. Wayne Hennessey and Aaron Ramsey are Welsh speakers, but Gary lightened the mood by saying that he used to mime because he didn't want to get the words wrong. Our big aim this week is to get the fans back behind us and get the belief back into the squad. If it gives us an extra one per cent, then that can only be a good thing."
Ashley Williams, another member of the Wales squad born in England, felt obliged to make a special effort to learn the Welsh national anthem when he was called up for the first time in 2008. The Swansea City defender asked Owain Tudor-Jones, his Welsh-speaking team-mate, to give him a few lessons and also downloaded the anthem on to his iPod so that he could practise it.
Hennessey, though, claims that for a long time his was the only voice that he could hear when the Wales players lined up before a match.
"Back in the day I was the only guy singing the national anthem and it didn't feel right," the Wales goalkeeper said. "Now Gary wants all of us to have a go at singing it and that's got to be a good thing.
"Gary handed out the sheets before our game against the Republic of Ireland in Dublin and I think something like that can help in the long run. Of course, some people are in the moment and are just ready to play and want to concentrate on the game. But it's great if the anthem stirs players and gets them passionate about playing for their country."
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