Robert Page not relishing prospect of finalizing Wales squad for World Cup

Published by
Peter Kavinsky

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Wales manager Robert Page admits he is “dreading” selecting his squad for the World Cup due to competition for places.

Page’s side will play their last matches before the World Cup this week, with their Nations League schedule culminating in away fixtures in Belgium and at home to Poland.

Injured quartet Aaron Ramsey, Ben Davies, Harry Wilson and Joe Allen miss those games but, fitness permitting, they are certain to make it into Wales’ 26-man squad in Qatar.

They know it won’t be anything personal when I have to make these decisions, but it’s hard to keep them all happy

Robert Page

“I’m already dreading (selecting) the 26 for the World Cup because we have so many great players in the group of 30 or 32 and more,” Page said ahead of the penultimate Nations League tie. Thursday in Brussels.

“You just have to be honest with the players. You’re not going to please everyone.

“It’s the hardest part of the job. We have a great group.

“They know it won’t be anything personal when I have to make these decisions, but it’s hard to keep them all happy.”

Page bolstered his squad this week by calling up teenage midfielders Luke Harris and Jordan James for the first time.

Harris, who turned just 17 in April, has an impressive goalscoring record for Fulham’s age sides and made his first-team debut for the Cottagers last month.

Hereford-born James, 18, impressed for Birmingham in the Sky Bet Championship and returned to the Wales setup after playing for England Under-20 in March.

Wales face an uphill battle to avoid relegation from the Nations League top tier.

Wales conceded two late goals against the Netherlands in the Nations League (Tim Goode/PA).

(PA wire)

Goals conceded late against Poland and the Netherlands, twice, in June left them just one point from four matches.

But even if they lose to Belgium, with whom they drew 1-1 in Cardiff three months ago, beating Poland on Sunday could be enough to ensure their survival in the top flight.

For that to happen, however, Poland would have to lose at home to the Dutch on Thursday.

Page said: “It (relegation) will not be a disaster, we will recover.

Wales take on Belgium in Brussels on Thursday (David Davies/PA).

(PA wire)

“We always come back to the first two games. There are points we could have picked up there, I strongly believe.

“But overall, that’s why we had to change our narrative a bit.

“We gave these young guys experience and played in games against top teams and used that as an advantage.

“We gave ourselves a chance to stay in the division, and we are fully focused on that.”

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Peter Kavinsky

Peter Kavinsky is the Executive Editor at cablefreetv.org

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