Cymru manager Robert Page has announced the 25-man squad for the upcoming Euro 2024 qualifiers against Armenia and Turkey in June. The squad includes the return of Neco Williams and David Brooks, but it’s bad news for Tom Lockyer, who has been left out after a health scare.
Despite suffering a broken jaw in April, Neco Williams has been selected for the Cymru squad. The Liverpool full-back has been out of action for several weeks, but his recovery progress has impressed the coaching staff. Manager Robert Page expressed his confidence in Williams’ availability, stating, “He’s not played minutes because of the significance of the injury but he will be fit for camp. It’s great to have him available.”
However, Williams may have to wear a protective mask during the qualifiers due to the nature of his injury. Page acknowledged the need to minimize the risk of refracture, saying, “You can’t take away every risk – I think he’s got a protection to wear for that reason. He’s so many weeks down the line, so I’d say the opportunity of a refracture is very unlikely.”
David Brooks, the attacking midfielder who recently returned to action with Bournemouth, has also been included in the squad. Brooks had been sidelined with stage two Hodgkin lymphoma but made a remarkable recovery, announcing he was cancer-free in May 2022. Manager Page praised Brooks’ resilience, stating, “He’s back fit and starting games in the Premier League. He’s got the quality to be in our plans moving forward.”
Notably, Tom Lockyer, the center-back who collapsed during Luton Town’s play-off final win over Coventry City, will not be part of the squad. Lockyer was carried off the pitch after just 12 minutes and remains in the hospital. Despite posting on social media that he was “feeling very much myself” and celebrating Luton’s victory, Lockyer will miss the upcoming qualifiers.
The squad also features the inclusion of Brennan Johnson, the promising forward who missed the previous qualifiers due to injury. Page expressed his frustration with Nottingham Forest’s handling of Johnson’s fitness concerns but emphasized the youngster’s importance to the team. Johnson has been earmarked as a key attacking option for Wales following the retirement of Gareth Bale.
There are no major concerns over captain Aaron Ramsey, who has missed Nice’s last three games with a calf injury. Manager Page believes the injury has come at a good time for Ramsey, allowing him to manage his workload effectively. Page stated, “The little niggle, and that’s all it is, has probably come at a good time for him. He’s at an age now where he knows his body and how to manage it.”
Despite recent injury setbacks, Page is confident that goalkeeper Danny Ward will be fit for the qualifiers. Ward, who plays for Leicester City, suffered a dislocated finger that forced him to miss the last three games of the season. However, Page expects him to make a full recovery in time for the matches.
In addition to the familiar faces, there are a few new additions to the Wales squad. Joe Low, the 21-year-old Bristol City defender who spent the second half of the season on loan with Walsall, has been called up. Low has previously represented Cymru at the under-21 level and has impressed Page with his development.
Three uncapped players have also been included in the squad: Luke Harris from Fulham, Liam Cullen from Swansea City, and Morgan Fox, who was recently released by Stoke City. Their call-ups reflect Page’s desire to infuse fresh talent into the team and provide opportunities for young players to make their mark.