Wales manager Rob Page. Pic: Getty Images.

No Bale And No Captain (Yet) As Rob Page Starts The New Wales Era With Four Fresh Faces From Birmingham City, Swansea City, Fulham And Ipswich

By Gareth James

Wales manager Rob Page has left the country in suspense after delaying confirming his new captain in succession to Gareth Bale.

Page has named a 24-man squad for the opening two qualifiers of Euro 2024, against Croatia and Latvia, but without specifying who will be his skipper.

Former regular matchwinner and talisman Bale took off the armband for the last time at the World Cup last year and announced his retirement from football in January.

Nice midfielder Aaron Ramsey or Tottenham defender Ben Davies are expected to replace Bale.

Bale ended his distinguished career in January after winning a record 111 caps for the Wales men’s national team.

Ramsey was appointed Wales captain at the age of 20 by the late Gary Speed in March 2011.

Speed’s successor Chris Coleman gave the armband to Ashley Williams in October 2012 to allow Ramsey to focus on his football.

As well as the departure of record scorer Bale, Chris Gunter, Joe Allen and Jonny Williams have retired from the international scene since Wales’ disappointing World Cup campaign before Christmas where they scored only once and finished bottom of their group.

Page has named four uncapped players in his squad for the trip to World Cup semi-finalists Croatia on March 25 and the home game with Latvia three days later.

Midfielders Jordan James (Birmingham City) and Ollie Cooper (Swansea City), who were both present in Qatar but not part of the official World Cup squad, feature.

Fulham youngster Luke Harris and Ipswich striker Nathan Broadhead are also included.

Tom Bradshaw returns after his fine form for Millwall saw him named the EFL Sky Bet Championship player of the month for February.

The last of Bradshaw’s three Wales appearances came at the China Cup in March 2018, but the 30-year-old has won a recall after scoring six goals in as many games.

David Brooks is not included after returning to the Bournemouth squad on Saturday for the first time in 529 days following his cancer diagnosis.

Ollie Cooper of Swansea City. Pic: Getty Images.

Brooks, an unused substitute in the Cherries’ 1-0 win over Liverpool, was diagnosed with Stage 2 Hodgkin lymphoma while on Wales duty in October 2021 but revealed he was cancer-free last May.

Wales are sweating on the fitness of Brennan Johnson after the in-form Nottingham Forest forward was injured at Tottenham on Saturday.

Johnson, who has scored seven goals since the World Cup, is set to have a scan on a groin strain.

Dundee United midfielder Dylan Levitt and Tyler Roberts, the Leeds striker on loan at QPR, are unavailable through injury.

Cardiff pair Rubin Colwill and Mark Harris and MK Dons midfielder Matthew Smith are also absent after being part of the World Cup squad.


Wales squad: D Ward (Leicester), W Hennessey (Nottingham Forest), A Davies (Sheff Utd), C Roberts (Burnley), C Mepham (Bournemouth), J Rodon (Rennes, on loan from Tottenham), B Davies (Tottenham), T Lockyer (Luton), B Cabango (Swansea), N Williams (Nottingham Forest), W Burns (Ipswich), E Ampadu (Spezia, on loan from Chelsea), J Morrell (Portsmouth), J James (Birmingham), O Cooper (Swansea), L Harris (Fulham), S Thomas (Blackburn, on loan from Huddersfield), A Ramsey (Nice), H Wilson (Fulham), B Johnson (Nottingham Forest), D James (Fulham, on loan from Leeds), K Moore (Bournemouth), T Bradshaw (Millwall), N Broadhead (Ipswich).



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