By Adam Brown | Sport Editor
Later this month, Wales will begin their journey towards qualification for the 2022 World Cup, which will be held in Qatar. Their first opponent being world number one ranked team, Belgium. Coverage of this game will be available via the Sky Sports Football channel. Over the duration of the year, Wales will also face the accompanying teams in group E, including Czech Republic, Belarus and Estonia. Wales will play their final qualifying game at home against their first opponents in the group, Belgium. Wales will be looking to continue their good run of form that they showcased late last year during the Nations League, securing victory over the likes of Finland, Ireland and Bulgaria.
Robert Page will be the person hoping to lead Wales to victory, after becoming Wales’ caretaker manager. Page was made caretaker manager after Ryan Giggs, who was Wales’s manager at the time, was arrested back in November 2020, after a reported row with “on-off girlfriend”, and was charged on suspicion of assault. The Welshman denied all allegations, and his bail was extended to May 1. This resulted in Giggs missing the next three fixtures of the international side, resulting in fans speculating whether this will have a knock-on effect on how Wales perform during the qualifiers.
Joe Allen and Wayne Hennessey have both been recalled to the squad, after recovering from injuries. Cardiff City’s Kieffer Moore has secured a place in the selected squad also, who is having a great season in the championship, netting 16 goals for his club side this season so far. Aaron Ramsey was initially selected to be part of the Welsh squad, but after a scheduled examination by Wales’ medical team, Ramsey has been ruled out due to an ongoing thigh injury. This was confirmed by Wales via Twitter earlier this week, the tweet stated, “Aaron Ramsey is unable to join up with the squad due to injury”. Welsh fans will be disappointed, as Ramsey can have a considerable impact on a game when he is involved. Welsh superstar, Gareth Bale, also earned a spot in the squad. Club teammates at Tottenham Hotspur, Ben Davies and Joe Rodon were also named for selection.
An honourable mention is Manchester United winger, Daniel James. Over the past year, James has struggled to secure a place in his club side, but with his recent form, the Welsh winger has caught the attention of United manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjær, who has begun to display confidence in James. Young, upcoming talent have also received places in the squad. One being Ethan Ampadu, loanee of Chelsea who is playing at Premier League side, Sheffield United this season. Another, Rabbi Matondo, loanee from German side FC Schalke 04 who is currently playing for Championship side Stoke City. Unfortunately missing out on being part of the squad is 23-year-old, David Brooks. The Bournemouth midfielder has been left out of the squad this March.
The Welsh squad that has been selected brings a lot of promise and anticipation to Welsh sports fans. After a delay of international tournament football, due to the ongoing pandemic, both players and fans will be eager for these upcoming fixtures.
Goalkeepers: Adam Davies, Daniel Ward, Tom King, Wayne Hennessey
Defenders: Ben Davies, Ben Cabango, Connor Roberts, Chris Gunter, Chris Mepham, Ethan Ampadu, Joe Rodon, James Lawrence, Neco Williams, Rhys Norrington-Davies, Tom Lockyer
Midfielders: Joe Allen, Aaron Ramsey, Jonathan Williams, Harry Wilson, Daniel James, Matthew Smith, Joe Morrell, Dylan Levitt, Brennan Johnson, Josh Sheehan
Forwards: Hal Robson-Kanu, Gareth Bale, Tom Lawrence, Kieffer Moore, Tyler Roberts, Rabbi Matondo