DAVID Vaughan hopes that some impressive performances for Wales in their Euro 2012 qualifiers against Montenegro and England can help him force his way into Steve Bruce’s starting line-up at Sunderland.
The midfielder joined the Black Cats following Blackpool’s relegation from the Premier League at the end of last term, having won many plaudits for a string of excellent displays alongside Charlie Adam in the Seasiders midfield.
Vaughan, 28, faced his former team-mate as a substitute in Sunderland’s opening-day draw at Liverpool but has not featured in the Premier League since, having been an unused replacement in the derby defeat to Newcastle and the weekend draw at Swansea.
Vaughan (pictured right) is likely to retain his place in the Wales midfield for Friday’s clash with Group G surprise package Montenegro at Cardiff City Stadium, and hopes to take the chance to play his way into Bruce’s plans.
He said: “I have enjoyed it so far at Sunderland. I am getting used to a new environment but it has gone quite well.
“I played in the first game at Liverpool, I came on, but I have not played since.
“That’s been a bit disappointing but going to a new club you sometimes have to wait and bide your time.
“This week gives me an opportunity to play some games for Wales hopefully, and if I can do well it will help my chances of playing more regularly for Sunderland.” Sunderland’s slow start to the new campaign has seen Bruce’s position come under scrutiny in the media.
But Vaughan says that while he may be away from the North East, there is still plenty of pressure to contend with due to Wales’ poor recent form.
Gary Speed’s side have lost all four of their Euro 2012 qualifiers to date, and turned in a poor display in the 2-1 defeat to Australia earlier this month.
That defeat was Speed’s fourth in five games in charge, and came despite the manager having all but one of his first-choice side available to him.
When asked if he was relieved to have a break from Sunderland given their tough start, Vaughan said: “You see the pressure the manager is under but for the players it is down to us to get results. It’s definitely the same for Wales. If we can get the performances better and improve, hopefully we can get some results.
“There have been things we’ve worked on in training that we’ve done in games, but also things we’ve done wrong that have been pointed out to us.
“Against Australia we didn’t release the ball quickly enough in attack. We have got players who can hurt a lot of teams, so if we can give them the ball we have a better chance of winning games.” With Wales unable to qualify for next summer’s finals in Poland and Ukraine, many fans are already casting their minds forward to facing England at Wembley in a week’s time. And while Vaughan, who has fond memories of the ground from Blackpool’s play-off success in 2010, would relish the chance to be involved in that encounter, he has warned that Wales must focus on the task at hand before they can begin to contemplate facing Fabio Capello’s men.
“Playing England is a massive game for anyone,” he said. “But we have a job to do first and then we can concentrate on England afterwards.
“Going to Wembley is a special occasion. I have not been back there since the play-off final. That was a great day so hopefully I can have another one on Tuesday night.”