Wales have announced their 26-man squad for their first World Cup appearance since 1958; Joe Allen has not played for Swansea City since September due to a hamstring injury but he has been included; Rangers winger Rabbi Matondo misses out

Wales World Cup squad: Joe Allen makes 26-man list alongside Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey

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Published: 11/10/2022 6:08:11 AM
Wales have announced their squad for Qatar

Wales have announced their squad for Qatar

Joe Allen has been included in Wales' 26-man World Cup squad, having proven his fitness ahead of the tournament in Qatar.

Allen, with 72 caps, has been part of so much of Wales' success stories of the recent past but a hamstring injury has kept him out of contention for Swansea City since mid-September.

Head coach Rob Page has named the 32-year-old among his list of midfielders, with Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey both unsurprisingly included despite relatively little game-time this season.


Wales' 26-man World Cup squad

Goalkeepers: Wayne Hennessey (Nottingham Forest), Danny Ward (Leicester City), Adam Davies (Sheffield United).

Defenders: Ben Davies (Tottenham) Ben Cabango (Swansea City), Tom Lockyer (Luton Town), Joe Rodon (Rennes, on loan from Tottenham), Chris Mepham (Bournemouth), Ethan Ampadu (Spezia, on loan from Chelsea), Chris Gunter (AFC Wimbledon), Neco Williams (Nottingham Forest), Connor Roberts (Burnley).

Midfielders: Sorba Thomas (Huddersfield), Joe Allen (Swansea City), Matthew Smith (MK Dons), Dylan Levitt (Dundee Utd), Harry Wilson (Fulham), Joe Morrell (Portsmouth), Jonny Williams (Swindon Town), Aaron Ramsey (Nice), Rubin Colwill (Cardiff City).

Forwards: Gareth Bale (Los Angeles FC), Kieffer Moore (Bournemouth), Mark Harris (Cardiff City), Brennan Johnson (Nottingham Forest), Dan James (Fulham, on loan from Leeds).

Bale has only played 327 minutes for Los Angeles FC since his move to Major League Soccer in July, but he scored in the MLS Cup penalty shoot-out success last weekend against Philadelphia Union.

"I'm not really bothered how fit Gareth Bale is," Page told Sky Sports. "He's come off the back of scoring a really important goal for LA, he's back in the country and he's fit.

"Every time he turns up for us he's always delivered, so I have no worries whatsoever. With Joe Allen, we're going to throw everything at him to give him the best opportunity of getting in the first game.

"He's been involved with Wales for years and he's really important to how we want to play."

Ramsey scored on his debut for Nice in August but has since only made six starts for the Ligue 1 club.

Elsewhere, Sheffield United goalkeeper Adam Davies has only received three caps but is included again having been the third-choice stopper behind Danny Ward and Wayne Hennessey at the delayed Euro 2020 Championships.

Page admits leaving Rhys Norrington-Davies and Tyler Roberts out of his World Cup squad were two of the toughest decisions he had to make.

Norrington-Davies' absence has been enforced by a hamstring injury, while Roberts has just one goal in 12 Championship appearances for QPR this season.

"I had to speak to Rhys Norrington-Davies and he was devastated because this injury that's put him out is quite a long-term one, so I've just been there to support him," Page added.

"He's going to miss out but that was taken out of my hands. Tyler was probably a little bit touch and go, he's doing his best to get back.

"Tyler was a difficult one because I know how much it means to him and he's a great lad."

Rangers winger Rabbi Matondo misses out having failed to score in 17 appearances in Scotland since his summer move from Schalke.

Page explained why he chose to leave out Matondo, saying: "It's been a frustrating time for him. I think he was playing his best football when he was in Belgium.

"If he'd have been playing week in, week out, scoring goals and creating chances like he was in Belgium then it would have been a really difficult decision for me."

Wales' only previous World Cup finals appearance was in Sweden in 1958, where they lost to Brazil in the quarter-finals.

Wales' first game in Qatar will take place on Monday November 21 against USA at 7pm UK time on the second day of the tournament at the Ahmed bin Ali Stadium in Al Rayyan.

The same venue will host Wales' second group game against Iran on Friday November 25 at 10am as well as the final group match against England on Tuesday November 29 at 7pm.

The knock-out stage begins on Saturday December 3.

Group B fixtures

Nov 21

13:00England v IR Iran 
19:00USA v Wales 

Nov 25

10:00Wales v IR Iran 
19:00England v USA 

Nov 29

19:00IR Iran v USA 
19:00Wales v England 


'Page true to his word with squad of few surprises'

Sky Sports News senior reporter Geraint Hughes:

"So, Rob Page has been saying for the best part of the last fortnight, there will be no surprises, he was true to his word.

"Page has gone with the tried and tested, and in doing so has been loyal to the players who performed for him during qualification for the World Cup and during the various Nations League campaigns.

"I might as well start by confirming the collective sigh of relief throughout Wales when they saw Gareth Bale's name on the squad list, but the toughest selection was probably that of Joe Allen. Two weeks ago, Rob page told me Joe had less than a 10 per cent chance of making the squad, but in that time, Allen's rehab has gone far better than expected, and he makes the squad. He's in the squad, not just for his footballing experience and talent, but he's a wise head.

Former Real Madrid star Gareth Bale to join Los Angeles FC on one-year deal  | CNN
Former Wales player Neil Taylor believes Gareth Bale could do Superman stuff at this year's World Cup and reveals why he thinks Joe Allen should go too.

"Interestingly when I asked Page if Gareth Bale was fit enough to play three games every four days during the group stages, the Wales manager dismissed the question. It wasn't in an irritated way; he was just making the point that it doesn't matter.

"Bale's last few years at Real Madrid and now at LAFC have all been about two things - getting Wales to the World Cup and being able to lead them at a World Cup. For Bale, he has achieved that aim of getting onto the plane fit enough to lead Wales at the World Cup.

Wales fixtures

"Clearly I could sense the difficulty Rob Page had in telling players who weren't selected they had missed out; he clearly didn't like doing it. If he could have, he would've taken a squad of 30+ players to Qatar, but he couldn't. However, it didn't take away from his body language when talking about the players that missed out, not only are they hurting, but you felt Page was hurting as well.

"Wales' squad announcement was more than just a formal declaration of the 26 players going to Qatar, it was a celebration. It was a unique occasion, in fact, a unique day. Wales have waited so long to be at a World Cup and with the current generation of players they have, they are determined not to waste the opportunity on the pitch, but also all opportunities off the pitch as well."



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