Wales boss Chris Coleman says midfielder Joe Allen is “irreplaceble”.
The performance of the Liverpool man in Kiev against the Ukraine on Monday night was one of the biggest positives from the 1-0 defeat.
Wales enjoyed 54 per cent possession but struggled to create genuine scoring chances, but Allen, whose future at Anfield is uncertain, was Wales’ star man.
The 26-year-old midfielder has struggled for game time at Anfield this season, but his ability to break up Ukraine attacks and find the right pass kept Wales moving forward.
“He’s a great player and I don’t use that term loosely,” said Coleman.
“You almost want a Joe Allen in front of the back four starting play and a Joe Allen just in behind the striker making the last pass, because he’s capable of both.
“It’s unfortunate that he’s not playing enough for Liverpool for his own liking, but that’s up to Liverpool.
“But the job he does for us, he’s irreplaceable.”
Coleman insists Wales are still heading towards Euro 2016 in a positive frame of mind despite a poor run of results.
Wales’ defeat to fellow finalists Ukraine made it only win in six games either side of qualifying for the nation’s first major tournament experience in 58 years.
Since September, Wales have drawn at home to Israel, lost in Bosnia and beaten one of European football’s whipping boys, Andorra, in their closing Euro 2016 qualifiers.
In the three friendlies since securing qualification, Wales have lost to Holland and Ukraine and been held at home by Northern Ireland.
But Coleman believes those results have masked some satisfying Wales performances.
“Results will be what they are going to be, but I think if we’re going into a tournament – our first tournament since 1958 – and we’re worried about that (momentum), we’re looking at it all wrong,” said Coleman.
“We’re going into it full of positivity and full of confidence because the performances have been good.
“I think you’ve got to look at the reality.
“I only ever have a problem with my team if they don’t put out and they don’t give 100 per cent when they put the Welsh jersey on.
“But I can’t complain about my players the way they have played.”