Wales’ qualification for the World Cup 2022 has ended a 64-year wait to return to international football’s biggest stage.
Rob Page will lead Wales in Qatar on the back of their most successful return to competitive football in eight years.
Under Chris Coleman, Wales reached the semi-finals of Euro 2016, before progressing to the last 16 of Euro 2020, under guardian Page.
However, a return to the World Cup is a different prospect for Page and his team as they aim to emulate John Charles and his colleagues from 1958.
Wales squad for the 2022 World Cup
Page has taken advantage of the club’s mentality during his time in Wales with the former defender being named as a permanent replacement for Ryan Giggs in June.
As such, there are few big surprises in his latest 26-man squad for Qatar 2022, which features several stars from the past decade.
Gareth Bale is, of course, the main inclusion, with Page insisting he has no concerns about the MLS star’s fitness.
Established stars such as Wayne Hennessey, Joe Allen, Aaron Ramsey, Dan James, Chris Gunter and Ben Davies are all included. There are also promising young players, like Harry Wilson, Ethan Ampadu and Brennan Johnson.
Number Club Age Limits
World Cup 2022
GK 1 Wayne Hennessey Nottingham Forest (England) 35 106 3
GK 12 Danny Ward Leicester City (England) 29 26 8
GK 21 Adam Davies Sheffield United (ENG) 30 3 0
DEF 15 Ethan Ampadu Spezia (ITA) 22 37 8
DEF 5 Chris Mepham Bournemouth (ENG) 24 33 8
DEF 4 Ben Davies Tottenham (SCO) 29 74 6
DEF 2 Chris Gunter Wimbledon (ENG) 33 109 4
DEF 14 Connor Roberts Burnley (ENG) 27 41 8
DEF 6 Joe Rodon Rennes (FRA) 24 30 8
DEF 3 Neco Williams Nottingham Forest (ENG) 21 23 7
DEF 24 Ben Cabango Swansea City (WAL) 22 5 0
DEF 17 Tom Lockyer Luton Town (ENG) 27 14 0
DEF 25 Ruben Colwill Swansea City (ENG) 20 7 1
MID 7 Joe Allen Swansea City (WAL) 32 72 9
MID 10 Aaron Ramsey Nice (FRA) 31 75 6
MID 8 Harry Wilson Fulham (ENG) 25 39 8
MID 18 Jonny Williams Swindon Town (ENG) 29 33 3
MID 16 Joe Morrell Portsmouth (ENG) 25 30 8
MID 26 Matthew Smith MK Dons (ENG) 22 19 0
MID 23 Dylan Levitt Dundee United (So) 21 13 0
MID 22 Sorba Thomas Huddersfield Town (England) 23 6 2
AV 11 Gareth Bale Los Angeles FC (USA) 33 108 7
AV 20 Daniel James Fulham (ENG) 24 38 10
AV 13 Kieffer Moore Bournemouth (ENG) 30 28 6
TA 9 Brennan Johnson Nottingham Forest (England) 21 15 6
TA 19 Mark Harris Cardiff City (WAL) 23 5 3
Wales’ best players, strengths and weaknesses
Most of Page’s final squad includes players who helped Wales qualify for Euro 2016 and Euro 2020.
However, there are some young talents in this latter group who could make a name for themselves in Qatar in the coming weeks.
Gareth Bale is Wales’ star man, although the fact that he has only made two starts for LAFC in the 2022 MLS season will be a concern, and Page appears unsure of the 33-year-old striker’s fitness.
Aaron Ramsey usually saves his best performances for his country these days, and his experience of the top competition will be a springboard for attacking midfielder Harry Wilson and Leeds United winger Dan James.
At the back, Tottenham Hotspur’s Ben Davies and 33-year-old Chris Gunter have plenty of us, as does goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey, who has over 100 caps for his country.
There is a resilience to the Welsh that makes them badass. They remained unbeaten in Group E in World Cup qualifying after losing their first game against Belgium, taking four points from Euro 2020 semi-finalists Czech Republic. They then showed great spirit to beat Austria and Ukraine in the playoffs.
Then, of course, there is Bale – the man who scored all three goals as they made it past the knockout rounds. The former Real Madrid star is a true inspiration when he plays for his country.
Well, on the contrary, Bale’s drunkenness.
Wales have scored 17 goals in their 10 Group E qualifiers and play-offs, with Bale involved in six of those. Aaron Ramsey, who is no longer a player, scored three goals.
The key question for Wales is: if Bale is not fully fit and Ramsey’s best days are behind him, where will the goals come from in these finals?