Have you spent much time in Wales since getting
back from France? How have you found the reaction?
I have. I’ve been back with my family and we did a team camp in Wales before the World Cup qualifier against Moldova. Of course, we also had the bus ceremony when we got back and there were just thousands upon thousands of people out on the streets, going nuts. That was just unreal. That was the first moment we really realised what kind of impact
we had made at home.
And what about that goal against Belgium?
Yeah, that was quite nice! To score that goal and for it to be named the goal of the tournament is a dream. Whenever I am walking around, just going about my business, someone or other comes up and mentions it. I seem to be stopped pretty often and it is genuinely nice to have that effect. I was actually on a summer vacation with my family in Majorca and even there Germans and Dutch people on holiday were comingup and speaking to me about it. It really was nice.
Hal Robson-Kanu: Yeah, wow! That was just great, brilliant, special - any word you want. During the course of it, when you’re involved, you can’t really take in what’s happening. But having had time to look back on what we achieved, it was a special summer and a special tournament not only for me but the whole squad and the whole nation. We will all remember it for as long as we live but the hope now is we can build on it.
I think we had a massive belief in our squad and what we were capable of. We had played together for six, seven, eight years - we’d grown up as players around each other and we had that star quality in players like Gareth Bale. We also had that comfort around one another as a squad with a common goal. Honestly, we were all so motivated to do well long before we even qualified. We knew what we had and it was just about getting on the big platform to express ourselves. Qualifying was such a massive achievement and to an extent we were already seen as heroes for the nation because it was the first time Wales had qualified in more than 50 years for a major championship. But we always believed we could do well once we got there. For the players and staff, I don’t think qualifying wasever going to be enough. Getting to the semi-finals – well, that was just great.
What was your expectation going in?
REDHANDED: That was an interesting summer. How do you reflect on how everything played out?
How often have you watched it back?
To be honest, I didn’t watch it back until the day after the game. We were so absorbed in the game and getting through and the buzz of what we had done against Belgium that it slipped my mind a bit. Then I got a moment the morning after and watched it back I noticed on my social media that there was a bit of hysteria and I had another look at it. It is great and a nice piece of history for me.
Wales stunned the footballing world at Euro 2016 and Hal Robson-Kanu impressed everyone - with the goal of the tournament. Interview
by Riath Al- Samarrai
Have you ever scored a better one in training?
You have your moments, obviously, but you can’t beat doing it in the quarter-finals of a major championship. I just want more now. To be honest, though, once the tournament finished and we had our celebration, I kind of just put my mind on the future rather than what had happened. I obviously had a bit to sort out in terms of getting a club and being rested.
On that front, you left Reading before the Euros and you’ve recently signed with West Brom. What kind of offers did you have elsewhere?
After the tournament finished there was a lot of interest globally in my future. It took a long time because there were so many clubs to speak to, but it was always going to be a footballing decision rather than anything else. It had to be somewhere I could go and get a platform to develop as a player. There were offers in Spain, Germany, and then there was silly money offers in Asia and a number of UAE clubs as well. But I wanted to be in the Premier League, working hard and enjoying my football at that level. That is what it was about. It was a manic summer for that reason but it was nice in the end to reach an agreement with a club like West Brom that is established in the Premier League. It is an exciting time being in a good, new club. It is a club moving forward and I am happy to be part of that.
You let your contract run down at Reading before the Euros and gambled on getting a good move at the end of the summer. Given what happened in France, it played out rather nicely for you.
Yeah, of course. It is not always a good thing to run down your contract in this day and age and it was just how it worked for me. I have been working hard the last few years in the Championship, but it was about getting that platform and that exposure and the European Championships were that. I now want to maintain that in the Premier League.
Just finally, what is your thought on this World Cup campaign for Wales and where it might lead?
Obviously, we didn’t get to where we are now by looking too far ahead. We have gone game by game and it took us to the point where we made history in France. Now we will do the same – go game by game and see where we go. We started this campaign with a good win against Moldova and now we will stay hungry and see where it takes us. As a group we have always wanted to do special things and I think there is even more to come.
Wales’ next competitive match is the Word Cup qualifier against the Republic of Ireland on March 24, 2017