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Wales boss Rob Page expects Ramsey to play on

Despite the retirements of teammates Gareth Bale and Joe Allen, Wales manager Robert Page anticipates that Aaron Ramsey will continue his international career.

While Bale has retired from sport, Swansea midfielder Allen, 32, stated this week that he would no longer play for his country.

Ramsey is still expected to play in Wales’ opening European Championship qualifiers in March, according to Page, who claims to be making changes to his team.

“I’ve spoken with Aaron and there is no issue there,” Page explained.

“I’m going to go over and see him and watch one of Nice’s games.

“We’ve been in contact and I don’t see there being an issue because he’s actually in really good form again, he’s playing, he’s enjoying his football and he’s playing well.”

Ramsey, who is 32, has started seven of Nice’s past nine Ligue 1 games, and Page is happy to see him back in form.

“Aaron still has a lot to offer Welsh football,” Page told BBC Sport Wales.

“While he is playing well and in a good place, then he will always be a part of my plans.”

In preparation for Wales’ qualifiers against Croatia and Latvia in March, Page says he is prepared to refresh his team.

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“I’ve signed a long-term contract and we need to look forward,” he said.

“My short term job was to get to a World Cup, we’ve done that, we’ve boxed that off and now we need to plan for the future.

“Now I need to get some of these younger players into the squad and give them an opportunity to shine. It’s an opportunity for me now.”

The need for change has been hastened by the departure of Allen, whose international retirement came as a shock to Page, as Bale’s did last month.

“Did we expect Gareth and Joe’s retirements to come so soon? Probably not, no,” Page explained.

“I was a little bit surprised, I had, again, about 24-hours (notice) before Joe announced it. I had a phone call from Joe and he explained his decision.

“Of course, I was disappointed because I still feel that Joe had a big part to play in the next European campaign.

“But when I take a step back and took the emotions out of it, honestly, I completely understand.

“He wants to continue playing at his top level in the Championship.

“I think injuries have just caught up with him a little bit, because he’s of an age now where they take their toll.

“He’s made a decision we have to respect.”

Page admits Allen, who won 74 caps for Wales, will be extremely tough to replace.

“I was a fan years ago watching Joe in 2016, watching what he did, and Wales were just never the same team without Joe in the team,” he said.

“I’m so lucky that I’ve had an opportunity to work with him.

“The senior players that we’ve got are incredible. And I count myself lucky that I’ve been privileged enough to work with him.

“You want them [Bale and Allen] to continue and there is a hint of sadness, because they are never going to put the jersey on for Wales again.”

Wrexham attacker Paul Mullin is being watched for a potential call-up after Page promised changes to his Wales team.

The 28-year-old is eligible for Wales and has expressed interest in being called up to the international team.

Mullin has a strong goal scoring record, and Page, who observed the striker during Wrexham’s 3-1 FA Cup loss at Sheffield United, says the forward impressed him.

“I was really impressed with him, he did not give the centre back one minute on the ball,” he said.

“If there was an aerial battle he was there. He was competing all game. And I like that about him.

“And he’s got an eye for goal and he’s got quality as well. So I was really impressed with him.”