Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes believes Ryan Hedges can play his way into the Wales squad for the upcoming European Championships.
The 25-year-old has arguably been the Dons’ top performer this season, but was left out of the Welsh squad for this month’s Nations League victories against Ireland and Finland as well as a 0-0 friendly draw against the United States.
Ryan Giggs’ side will return to action when the World Cup qualifiers get under way in March with the draw for the group stages due to take place in Zurich on December 7.
Wales have qualified for next summer’s Euro 2020 extravaganza and are in Group A with Turkey, Switzerland and Italy.
McInnes sees no reason why Hedges, who has been capped three times, can’t be a part of the Welsh squad for the tournament.
He said: “I think he has good players ahead of him in that position.
“His manager at Wales, Ryan Giggs, has included him in a few squads. He maybe went off the radar a bit with them, but Ryan and I have spoken about it.
“The next few months are important. The work he does between now and that March get-together is vital.
“It will be difficult to get into that squad after March. Ryan has to maintain his levels, keep scoring goals and assisting and being the difference in big games.
“That will be the best thing for him.
“He has certainly given himself the chance to be involved and that is all we can ask for. If he maintains his form and hopefully that reward is there for him.”
Hedges struggled to hold down a first-team spot on a regular basis during his first season at Pittodrie after moving from Barnsley last summer.
But the winger has been a key player for McInnes this season, scoring seven goals in 18 appearances.
The Dons boss said: “I do sometimes think players take time to settle, with the greatest of respect to where Ryan has been, coming here and what is expected of him. He started last season well. His goals and assists were good at the start of the campaign.
“Then after a few poorer performances he lost a bit of confidence and wasn’t getting selected as much. Maybe his season petered out.
“He has benefited from a strong start, trusted his body and benefited from playing the games.
“Confidence has played a big part. Getting the hat-trick in Europe (against Runavik) was massive and he hasn’t really looked back from there.
“In last week’s draw against Hamilton, I thought he was the one player on the pitch with real pace and he used it time and time again.
“I think confidence for that type of player is key. They can be up and down, but he is getting consistency of selection and performance. Hopefully, that will continue.”