WALES should build their Euro 2016 forward line around Burnley striker Sam Vokes, says Sam Ricketts.
The Wolves skipper, who like Vokes is in the Welsh squad for the friendly with Iceland in Cardiff on Wednesday, says that the striker deserves his chance to start up front as reward for an impressive Championship campaign.
Vokes has already set a new personal best this season, and is now just two away from the 20-goal milestone after his brace in last Saturday’s 3-1 win over Nottingham Forest.
“Hopefully he can be that goalscorer that we've been searching for,” said Ricketts.
“He’s got a very good goal scoring record for Wales for the games he’s played.
“This season he’s high up on the goal scoring charts in the Championship and I think now’s the time to blood him."”
Vokes has five international goals in 30 appearances for Wales, most of which have come off the bench.
But with Chris Coleman’s attacking options weakened by Craig Bellamy’s international retirement and Millwall’s Steve Morison finding himself out of favour for the Red Dragons, who scored a total of only nine goals during their unsuccessful 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign, Vokes is being earmarked as the man to provide the ammunition going forward.
And former Wales and Newcastle striker Malcolm Allen has given his backing to the 24-year-old.
“Can Sam Vokes make that step up from Championship level to international level? It’s a big, big gap,” he said.
“But I’m a believer if he’s scoring goals and he’s full of confidence he deserves his chance.
“Sam has always struck me as a nice guy and a nice guy on the football pitch.
“Sometimes when you’re six foot three you've got to be a little bit nastier to get the crowd on your side and get the players on your side.
“It’s good to have a presence up there, who can win his fair share of balls in the air and hold the ball up for his team.
“His first touch has improved this season but that comes with confidence.”