World Cup 2022: Wales manager Robert Page set to announce 26-man squad

Robert Page

Robert Page will announce his 26-man squad for Wales’ first World Cup in 64 years when he returns to Tylorstown in the Rhondda valley on Wednesday.

Manager Page will reveal the squad at a special event in his hometown shortly after 19:00 GMT, live on BBC One Wales.

Captain Gareth Bale and midfielder Joe Allen are among the fitness concerns, while forward Rubin Colwill and Tyler Roberts are recovering from injuries.

Wales face the United States in their opening World Cup match on 21 November.

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

Page has previously indicated that he has already decided on the majority of the 26 players he will be taking with him to Qatar, but there will still be a nervous wait for many on Wednesday night.

The squad will be announced in front of an audience at Tylorstown Welfare Hall, the last remaining miners welfare hall in the Rhondda Fach valley and a place where Page spent much of his childhood.

As well as contemplating his final few choices, the former Wales centre-back will have his fingers crossed that all his players emerge unscathed from the remaining fixtures before club football pauses for the start of the World Cup.

It is virtually certain that Bale will captain Wales in Qatar but the 33-year-old has said he is “not 100%” fit.

That is despite his crucial late goal in Los Angeles FC’s MLS Cup final triumph over Philadelphia Union last weekend.

Bale has been integral to Wales’ recent success – they have qualified for three of the past four major tournaments having reached only one before that – and will be their talisman once more at the World Cup.

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

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At least Bale is playing some part for his club at the moment, whereas midfielder Allen has not featured for Swansea City since injuring his hamstring in September.

Head coach Russell Martin has confirmed Allen will not play for the Swans before the World Cup, but Wales still hope the 32-year-old will be able to play some part in Qatar.

Cardiff City attacking midfielder Colwill is back in training, with Bluebirds interim manager Mark Hudson saying he is hopeful the 20-year-old will get “some minutes” before the World Cup begins.

But forward Roberts, who is on loan at Queens Park Rangers from Leeds United, will not feature before the start of the tournament, according to Hoops boss Michael Beale.

One player who has effectively been ruled out of the World Cup already is Sheffield United defender Rhys Norrington-Davies, who has torn his hamstring.

The 23-year-old’s versatility – as a wing-back, left-back or wide-sided centre-back – means Page might have to decide either to select an additional centre-back or another wide option to take his place.

Ipswich’s Wes Burns could be the beneficiary if he opts for the latter, while there could be a route back into the squad for Tom Lockyer of Luton if Page favours cover in central defence.

There are unlikely to be many surprise inclusions or omissions, with Page expected to remain loyal to those who have got Wales to this point.

That means the likes of Jonny Williams and Chris Gunter – despite playing League Two football – could be included again, as they were at the past two European Championships.

If Page was to raise eyebrows with a shock selection – as he did with Colwill at Euro 2020 – that could come in midfield, with teenagers Luke Harris and Jordan James named in September’s Nations League squad.

Swansea attacking midfielder Ollie Cooper has also caught the eye in the Championship lately but has yet to feature in a senior Wales squad.

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