Mark Hughes on Danny Gabbidon

Last updated : 22 August 2003 By Michael Morris

IT WAS the morning after the night before, but still Mark Hughes was raving about Daniel Gabbidon's immaculate display in Belgrade.

"I have no doubts whatsoever that Danny can play at the highest level," said Hughes, the former Manchester United warrior who has seen a few defenders close-up and personal in his time.

"But I think he is just beginning to realise that himself.

"Maybe he did not realise his own capabilities before, but he seems to enjoy the stage I have given him."

The Cardiff City centre-back was Wales' man of the match in Wednesday's Euro 2004 qualifying defeat against Serbia-Montenegro.

Despite being subjected to disgraceful racial abuse by the partisan crowd inside the Red Star Stadium, the 23-year-old produced a performance as good as the one he delivered in the momentous 2-1 win over Italy last October.

On that night Gabbidon, then plying his trade in Division Two, did an excellent job patrolling Juventus' golden boy Alessandro Del Piero.
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