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World Cup qualifiers: Injury doubt Aaron Ramsey included as Joe Allen returns for Wales

Joe Allen (R) and Aaron Ramsey, along with Gareth Bale, were instrumental in Wales’ 2016 Euro success and qualification for Euro 2020

Aaron Ramsey has been named in Wales’ squad for this month’s World Cup qualifiers despite reports in Italy that he has suffered a thigh injury.

Stoke midfielder Joe Allen returns for the first time since 2019 having recovered from an Achilles injury.

Bournemouth forward David Brooks is not included having been ruled out for four weeks in February with an ankle injury.

Wales start their World Cup campaign away to Belgium on 24 March and then have a friendly against Mexico before their second qualifier at home against the Czech Republic on 30 March.

Assistant manager Robert Page will be in charge due to the absence of Ryan Giggs, who has had his bail extended after denying an allegation of assault.

Former Arsenal player Ramsey has featured in just three of Wales’ past 15 games, with his most recent appearance against the Republic of Ireland in the Nations League last November.

Juventus manager Andrea Pirlo said before their match against Cagliari that Ramsey has “physical problems and is unable to get continuity to his performances because he has to stop every two or three games”.

But Page said on Monday: “We would like to get him on camp and have eyes on him and assess him ourselves.

“We have named him in the squad because he is a big part of what we want to do and how we want to play.

“That is an ongoing situation at the minute that we are assessing daily but fingers crossed we will have him when we meet up on Sunday. We would like to have a look at him.

“He’s in the squad at the minute unless things develop overnight and become far worse than what we think and he is absolutely out of the 10 days, the three games. If things change like that, it’s out of our control.”

While Wales monitor Ramsey’s fitness, they will be encouraged by the return from injury of another influential midfielder, Allen.

The 31-year-old’s most recent appearance for his country was against Hungary in November 2019 when Wales clinched qualification for the Euro 2020 finals.

The former Swansea City and Liverpool midfielder ruptured an Achilles tendon playing for Stoke in March 2020 and returned to Championship football in December after surgery and a nine-month absence.

“I have been to see Joe a couple of times in the last couple of months and he is looking good,” said Page.

“He is back to full fitness and the way Stoke have managed him back to full fitness has been a credit to them.”

Goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey also returns after making a comeback for Crystal Palace Under-23s against Bolton last Friday, his first football since suffering a thigh injury in Wales’ win over Bulgaria in October.

Hennessey is one of four goalkeepers named in the squad along with Leicester City’s Danny Ward, Adam Davies of Stoke and Newport County’s Tom King, but there is no place for Dunfermline Athletic’s Owain Fon Williams.

Ben Davies, Ben Cabango, Hal Robson-Kanu, Dylan Levitt, and Rabbi Matondo also all return after missing recent games with injury.

Cardiff City forward Kieffer Moore is included but there is no place for the club’s midfielder Will Vaulks.

Wales squad: 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, Wilson, James, Smith, Morrell, Levitt, Johnson, Sheehan, Bale, Robson-Kanu, T Lawrence, Moore, T Roberts, Matondo.

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