EURO STAR: Swansea City and Wales captain Ashley Williams

8th June 2016

Ashley Williams can reflect on some proud moments during his career.
Having been released by West Brom at the age of 16, the centre-back never could have predicted what the future held in store for him.
A journey from non league to the Premier League is a big enough achievement in itself, with Williams progressing from Hednesford Town to Swansea City - then in League One - via Stockport County.
But on Saturday, when Wales take on Slovakia, the 31-year-old faces the proudest moment of his career as he is set to become the first Welsh captain to lead his side out in a major tournament since Dave Bowen in 1958.
And for Williams, who qualified for Wales through his grandfather, representing his country in an international tournament will top all of his achievements.

"It will be a very proud moment for myself and the whole country," said Williams, who won his first cap in 2008.
"I expect it will be my proudest moment - to lead out Wales at a major tournament will be massive for everyone and especially myself.
"I could never imagined being in this position when I was down in the lower leagues. I am looking forward to it massively. We have all worked so hard to get to this point."

Best result: never previously qualified
Coach: Chris Coleman
Leading scorers: all-time - Ian Rush (28); current - Gareth Bale (19)
Most appearances: all-time - Neville Southall (92); current - Chris Gunter (64)
Association formed: 1876
Nickname: Dreigiau (Dragons)
Where they play: Cardiff City Stadium; Millennium Stadium

Euro history
Overall: P 104; W 41; D 21; L 42; F 125; A 133
Final tournament: First appearance

Euro 2016 fixtures
Saturday, June 11, 5pm (Bordeaux): Wales v Slovakia - Group B
Thursday, June 16, 2pm (Lens): England v Wales - Group B
Monday, June 20, 8pm (Toulouse): Russia v Wales - Group B

Wales head into the tournament placed in Group B with England, Russia and Saturday's opponents Slovakia.
With the world's most expensive signing in their squad, Gareth Bale will undoubtedly be a key figure for Wales.
But Williams believes one factor will be crucial to Wales' hopes of progressing from the group - the team.

"We have players from the Championship and Scotland that have a team-mate from Real Madrid, but when we are with Wales then we are all the same," he said.
"There are no egos in this team.
"It's a fantastic environment to be around, and although Gareth is playing for one of the biggest clubs in the world, he can't do it on his own. We all have jobs to do and if everyone does what is asked of them then we can surprise a few people.
"He means a lot to us - he is a massive player - but so does everyone else. That's the beauty of this team - the team is the biggest factor."

See the second installment of our Euro Star feature on Thursday as Gylfi Sigurdsson talks about Iceland's hopes for the tournament.