Aaron Ramsey has been included in the Wales squad for the upcoming 2022 World Cup qualifiers with Belgium and Czech Republic despite concerns over his fitness.
The 30-year-old missed Juventus’ 3-1 win over Cagliari on Sunday with a thigh injury, although he features in Robert Page’s 31-man squad for Wales’ triple header this month.
And Page has revealed the 61-cap international will be closely monitored this week before linking up with his Wales team-mates on Sunday.
“That’s still ongoing. We’re still investigating that,” explained Page when discussing Ramsey’s injury situation.
“We’ve named him in the squad because he’s a big part of what we want to do and how we play.
“Of course we want him in the squad, we would like to get him on camp, have eyes on him and assess him ourselves. Fingers crossed we’ll have him when we meet up on Sunday.
“He’s in the squad at the minute, and, unless things develop overnight and become far worse than what we think and that he’s absolutely out of the 10 days, so if things change like that then it’s out of our control.
“As it stands at the minute, we’d like him to meet up and then we can assess him.”
The squad announcement comes after the Football Association of Wales confirmed Page would take charge of Wales during the upcoming international break as Ryan Giggs remains under investigation due to an allegation of assault.
But Page revealed Giggs once again played a key role in the squad decisions – as was the case ahead of the Nations League fixtures he missed last year.
“Yeah, of course, like he does in every other camp,” responded the 46-year-old when asked if Giggs played a part in the selection of the squad.
“All of the staff will have an input, we’ll all gather and have conversations about the squad, the opposition and the analysis. Things have been no different with regards to that.
“Yes, I’m here as the front man at the minute, but it’ll be no different to what it was in November. He’ll have an input and rightly so.
“I’m very proud again to be leading the boys out, but it’s business as usual.
“We’ve got three really important games coming up for different reasons, with two World Cup qualifiers and a great friendly for others to put their stamp on potentially being in the squad for the Euros in the summer.”
Wayne Hennessey and Adam Davies have both returned to the squad following lengthy spells on the sidelines due to injury, with Leicester City goalkeeper Danny Ward and Newport County’s Tom King also included.
Charlton Athletic’s Chris Gunter – who is on 99 caps – features along with the likes of Liverpool’s Neco Williams, Tottenham’s Joe Rodon and Swansea City duo Connor Roberts and Ben Cabango in defence.
And in what represents a significant boost for the Red Dragons, Joe Allen – who has not played for his country since the 2-0 triumph over Hungary in November 2019 – returns to the international fold after making a full recovery from the Achilles tendon injury that kept him sidelined for nine months last year.
Brennan Johnson and Josh Sheehan – who both made their international debuts against the United States of America last year – are once again included.
Cardiff City trio Kieffer Moore, Jonny Williams and Harry Wilson are all included, although there’s no place for central midfielder Will Vaulks.
Bournemouth ace David Brooks misses out due to an ankle injury.
Wales – who are unbeaten in their last 11 competitive outings – face Belgium in their opening 2022 World Cup qualifier at Den Dreef in Leuven on Wednesday, March 24 before facing Mexico in a friendly at Cardiff City Stadium three days later.
Page’s side will then host Czech Republic at Cardiff City Stadium in their second World Cup qualifier on Tuesday, March 30.
Hennessey, Ward, A Davies, King.
Gunter, B Davies, C Roberts, Ampadu, Mepham, Lockyer, Rodon, J Lawrence, N Williams, Norrington-Davies, Cabango.
Ramsey, Allen, J Williams, Smith, Morrell, Levitt, Johnson, Sheehan.
Bale, Robson-Kanu, Wilson, T Lawrence, Moore, James, T Roberts, Matondo.
Belgium v Wales (2022 World Cup qualifying) – Wednesday, March 24 (7:45pm KO)
Wales v Mexico (friendly) – Saturday, March 27 (8pm KO)
Walex v Czech Republic (2022 World Cup qualifying) – Tuesday, March 30 (7:45pm KO)