The father of Wales legend Gary Speed says reaching a major tournament was his son’s “ultimate aim” and he would be proud of Chris Coleman and the team for making that dream a reality.
Roger Speed, who was speaking exclusively to our sister paper the Daily Post, also believes his son - who lived in Chester at the time of his death - would be heading to France with ambitions to win the tournament.
Wales ended a 58-year wait to appear at a major finals by finishing second in their group during a memorable qualifying campaign.
They begin their Euro 2016 Group B adventure on June 11 against Slovakia before facing fierce rivals England five days later and then finally Russia on June 20.
Chris Coleman succeeded his friend Speed as Wales manager in January 2012, two months after the 42-year-old’s tragic death at his home in Huntington in Chester.
Roger said: “It was Gary’s dream to take Wales to a major tournament – that would have been his ultimate aim. He would be so proud of this team reaching Euro 2016.
“I know Chris very well, we’ve always got on. Gary and him were big mates and I’m glad he took over after Gary. As he’s said, he’s had to change bits. That’s his game and it’s working.
“He’s tweaked a bit of what Gary was doing and it’s all come for the good. It’s made it better.
“He would be so proud of what Chris has done since taking over. To me he was a hard act to follow and Chris has done it. It’s brilliant.”
Speed, who was born and bred in Deeside was found dead at his Chester home on the morning of November 27, 2011, prompting an outpouring of grief across the country.
An inquest recorded a narrative verdict as the coroner could not be certain the then Wales football manager had intended to take his own life.
The Mancot-born footballer and father-of-two remains Wales’ most-capped outfield player having represented his country 84 times.