Wales head coach Rob Page has announced his 26-man squad for the World Cup. Wales will take part in the World Cup after 64 years which is only their second appearance in the tournament. Gareth Bale and Joe Allen have made it to the squad amidst fitness concern.
Concern over skipper Bale’s match fitness
Wales captain Gareth Bale has not played a full 90 minutes ever since his move to the MLS. Bale recently came as a substitute in LAFC’s final win in the MLS cup after being out with injury for two weeks. Wales fans can be cheerful as Bale has started getting into rhythm.
“Has he played as many minutes as we’d like? Probably not,” Page said of Bale. “But that doesn’t worry me. He’s proved time and time again when he puts the Welsh jersey on, irrespective of how many minutes he’s played at domestic level, he’s always produced.”
“On big occasions he’ll always turn up, thrive, and enjoy it. He’s already with the [Wales] staff, over in the country and raring to go. Gareth has proven in the past that without minutes he can deliver in important stages.”
Surprise inclusions and unexpected omissions
Rob Page had already mentioned there will be surprises in his squad selection. Luton’s defender Tom Lockyer makes it to the squad after being out of reckoning in the national set-up for more than a year. In-form Swansea winger Oli Cooper and Rangers forward Rabbi Matondo are surprise omissions.
Joe Allen who has been out of action for over two months with hamstring injury. When asked about Allen, Page said: “We’re giving him every opportunity to be fit for that first game. He’s progressing as we want him to. If he’s fit, he’s playing. He’s massive for how I play and the success we’ve had. He’s a senior lad, he’s got vast amounts of experience playing tournament football as well so he knows the game inside out and that’s invaluable. That’s why I’m throwing everything at it.”
“It’s similar to Joe Ledley probably at [Euro] 2016, when Cookie [Chris Coleman] had that scenario with an experienced lad that he wanted to go in, because he needed him as a key figure in that team. For me, it’s no different with Joe [Allen].”
Wales 26-man squad for 2022 FIFA World Cup
Wayne Hennessey (Nottingham Forest/England), Danny Ward (Leicester City/England), Adam Davies (Sheffield United/England).
Ben Davies (Tottenham/England), Ben Cabango (Swansea/Wales), Tom Lockyer (Luton/England), Joe Rodon (Rennes/France), Chris Mepham (Bournemouth/England), Ethan Ampadu (Spezia/Italy), Chris Gunter (Wimbledon/England), Neco Williams (Nottingham Forest/England), Connor Roberts (Burnley/England).
Sorba Thomas (Huddersfield/England), Joe Allen (Swansea/Wales), Matthew Smith (MK Dons/England), Dylan Levitt (Dundee United/Scotland), Harry Wilson (Fulham/England), Joe Morrell (Portsmouth/England), Jonny Williams (Swindon Town/England), Aaron Ramsey (Nice/France), Rubin Colwill (Cardiff/Wales).
Gareth Bale (LAFC/USA), Kieffer Moore (Bournemouth/England), Mark Harris (Cardiff/Wales), Brennan Johnson (Nottingham Forest/England), Dan James (Fulham/England).