Ryan Giggs is willing to gamble on the fitness of both Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey in order to clinch Wales’ Euro 2020 qualification.
The Wales manager has named both of his two world class talents in the squad for the decisive remaining qualifiers away to Azerbaijan on November 16 and at home to Hungary three days later – even though he admits there are doubts about the readiness of both.
Giggs has admitted that Ramsey in not “100 per cent match fit” and that Bale is “a worry” – although he insists both players could still feature in Wales’ biggest games for three years.
Bale has not played since injuring his calf in the most recent qualifier against Croatia last month and Giggs said: “Gareth picked up that little injury in the game against Croatia.
“It wasn’t a big injury, but with the short turnaround it’s a worry.
“But I am in constant contact with him and he feels confident he is going to be fit for the game. It’s about monitoring him this week and taking it day by day.’
Ramsey has only just returned to action in Italy with Juventus and has yet to feature in any games in the current campaign. His most recent injury, a thigh problem, has also restricted his appearances in Turin, but Giggs says he willing to take a risk.
“Aaron has come on in the last two games for Juventus and looked sharp and full of running.
“He went through a stage where he started three games on the bounce before he came into the last camp and then he got that little injury.
“I wouldn’t say he is 100 per cent match fit, but he looks good and he looks sharp.
“We will see what he’s like when he meets up with us and monitor it from then.”
Whether or not either of his star performers and potential match-winners make the final matches, Giggs knows these games will determine the fate of Welsh football over the next few months and perhaps his own as manager.
“These are huge games. We know what we have to do – we need to win both games.
“They are two difficult games. We beat Azerbaijan and we lost to Hungary, but it’s a competitive group and you have to turn up on the night.
“But we are in good form and we have got momentum. I have been delighted with the performances in the last three games. Maybe on another night in Slovakia, we could have got three points.
“The team is in good shape at the moment and I’m confident.”
Swansea City defender Joe Rodon and Charlton midfielder Jonny Williams are unavailable after undergoing respective ankle and knee surgery last month.
Long-term absentee David Brooks remains out, while Joe Allen is named in the squad despite being suspended for the trip to Azerbaijan on November 16.
The Stoke midfielder will return for the Hungary game in Cardiff three days later, with Wales needing to win their final two games to be in with a chance of qualifying for next summer’s finals.
Hennessey, Ward, A Davies, Gunter, A Williams, B Davies, Taylor, C Roberts, Ampadu, Mepham, Lockyer, J Lawrence, Poole, Ramsey, Allen, Wilson, Smith, Levitt, James, Vaulks, Morrell, Bale, Vokes, T Lawrence, T Roberts, Matondo, Moore.