World Cup 2022: Wales name injury doubts Joe Allen in 26-man squad

Midfielder Joe Allen has won 72 caps since making his debut in 2009

Robert Page has named his 26-man squad for Wales’ first World Cup in 64 years, with midfielder Joe Allen included despite major injury doubts.

Gareth Bale leads a team that has no surprising inclusions or omissions.

Rhys Norrington-Davies is out with a hamstring injury so Tom Lockyer is recalled more than a year since playing for Wales, while a calf injury rules out striker Tyler Roberts.

Wales will face the United States in their World Cup opener on November 21.

They are joined in Group B by Iran and England, who name their squad on Thursday.

Wales team

Guardians: Wayne Hennessey (Nottingham Forest), Danny Ward (Leicester City), Adam Davies (Stoke City).

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

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

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

Page had previously indicated that he had already decided on the majority of the 26 players he would bring to Qatar, and that was evident during Wednesday’s announcement in his hometown of Tylorstown in the Rhondda Valley as he s stuck with a proven and trusted team.

His biggest injury problem is influential midfielder Allen, who is named in the squad despite not having played for Swansea City since. hamstring injury in September.

Swans head coach Russell Martin has confirmed Allen will not feature for the Championship side ahead of the World Cup, but Wales are still hopeful the 32-year-old can play a role in Qatar , although not fit enough to start against the United States.

“It’s not ideal if I’m being honest, but we’re giving him every chance to get him into shape to get into the starting XI for the first game,” Page said.

“There are a few other players in a similar boat, but Joe has been so important to me overall for the past two years, how I want to play and how he sits in front of the back four.

“This is one of the ones from 2016 [European Championship] when they were successful and when he played really well, Wales won games.

“Once again he has earned the right to be there. I spoke to him two days ago and he is in a positive frame of mind and he is looking forward to it.”

There is better news regarding captain Bale, who at least played for his club, Los Angeles FC.

However, the 33-year-old said he was “not 100%” after scoring a crucial late goal in LAFC’s MLS Cup final triumph over the Philadelphia Union last weekend.

Gareth Bale lifts the MLS Cup
Gareth Bale helped LAFC win the MLS Cup for the first time

The former Real Madrid player has made just two starts – plus 11 substitute appearances – for LAFC since joining the American club in June.

Bale has been an integral part of Wales’ recent success – they have qualified for three of the last four major tournaments after reaching only one before – and will be their talisman again at the World Cup.

“Ideally, would we want him to play more minutes? Sure,” Page said.

“Am I worried? No, because he has shown time and time again that no matter how many minutes he has played at club level, he always comes up and has important moments in the game, be it a free kick against Austria or Ukraine. [in the World Cup play-off semi-final and final].

“Great players step in for great occasions. We said that with Aaron [Ramsey] in the past – Hungary at home when he scored twice for us – and it’s no different with Gareth.

“Opposing managers will look at the team sheet and if they see his name they will know at all times that he can win a game for you.”

“I’ve stuck with the guys who have earned the right to be there” – Wale boss Rob Page

Along with Bale and Allen, goalkeepers Wayne Hennessey and Danny Ward, defenders Ben Davies and Chris Gunter and midfielders Ramsey and Jonny Williams are the players who will represent Wales in a third major tournament, having played in the last two European Championships.

Nottingham Forest striker Brennan Johnson, Cardiff City striker Mark Harris and Huddersfield Town winger Sorba Thomas will take part in their first major tournament.

“The worst thing about this job is disappointing those who aren’t 26,” Page said.

“The others I haven’t called to tell them they’re here, I’d rather they see it when [it is announced].

“It will be nice to see for them, but on the other side there will always be someone who will be disappointed.

“I’ve had a few uncomfortable conversations – some by injury, some by choice.

“We have to move forward now and pick the team that will go out there and win us games.”

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