Rob Page Wales

Rob Page Wales. Pic: Getty Images

We Need To Do More Homework, Says Wales Boss Rob Page

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By Gareth James

Wales manager Robert Page has admitted he and his analysts have work to do after the draw for the upcoming Nations League.

But the Wales boss insisted his team have been handed a good group after being drawn against Iceland, Montenegro and Turkey.

Wales are back in the second tier of the competition after finishing bottom of Group A4 in the 2022-23 edition.

Turkey are familiar foes after they topped the pool in the recent qualification campaign for Euro 2024, which left Wales facing a play-off semi final against Finland next month.

But the other countries are less familiar and Page said: “With regards to the other teams, we’ll have to do a little bit more digging and get some work for our analysts.

“If we give the performances we gave against Croatia [2-1 win in October 2023] and Turkey at home, the results should take care of themselves. We’re pretty confident.”

“I think it’s a positive group. We’re quite pleased with it.

“We know all about Turkey off the back of playing them recently. I thought our home performance [1-1 in November 2023] was very good and, on another day, we could have won the game.

“Away from home we went down to 10 men after 40 minutes and, without that, the result [2-0 defeat in June 2023] would have been different. So we know all about them.

Wales will begin their Nations League campaign with two group games in September, followed by two in October and two in November.

Wales intend to discuss the possibility of Tom Lockyer being invited to join their camp for their play-off against Finland next month, Page has said.

The Luton centre-back featured in the Dragons’ Euro qualifier against Turkey in November but suffered a cardiac arrest playing for his club against Bournemouth on December 16.

Lockyer had a reunion with his Luton team-mates on January 29, visiting the club’s Brache training ground for the first time since his on-pitch collapse which hospitalised him for five days.

He had admitted he welcomed the return to the training ground having become “disconnected” during the time away, and now Page has indicated he could be given the opportunity to link up with his national team.

Asked if he could be invited to the Wales camp for the Finland game, Page told the PA news agency: “Yeah, absolutely. Locks is part of the squad and part of the family. There will be conversations to be had, but Locks is always part of our squad.”

Page is confident Aaron Ramsey will be able to play a big part for Wales in the Finland game.

If Wales win that, they will face a one-off home match against Poland or Estonia for a place in Germany.

Ramsey has been out for five months with a knee injury but has recently returned to club action with Cardiff, and Page said: “Rambo did it against Hungary in a play-off for Euro 2020. Big players turn up for big games and he certainly falls in that category.

“When you’ve got a wealth of experience like he has got, and the ability he has got, albeit he is a couple of years older than what he was in the success of the Euros, he still has a big part to play and he still shows his quality day in and day out on the training ground.”

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