Allen and Matthews missing for Wales ahead of Cyprus and Israel tests
Wales, 11/10 with Coral to win Euro 2016 qualifying Group B, are without injured duo Joe Allen and Adam Matthews for their penultimate round of matches against Cyprus and Israel, though national coach Chris Coleman has handed a maiden senior call-up to Liverpool-owned midfielder Jordan Williams.
Capped just once at Under-21 level, the teenage talent is on loan at League One team Swindon Town. There are also international recalls for West Ham United centre back James Collins, Tottenham defender Ben Davies and Wolves midfielder Dave Edwards after injury.
Allen’s absence, plus that of Nottingham Forest anchorman David Vaughan, increases young Williams’ chances of making his senior Dragons debut, especially as Joe Ledley and Shaun MacDonald have moved onto the fringes at Crystal Palace and Bournemouth respectively.
Head coach Coleman is aware of increasing expectations on his team, with Wales topping their pool with four games to go. “This period of my career is my biggest. I know what the dangers are,” he said.
“You can feel it around the country; the belief is there, the excitement is there, the anxiety. The pressure is massive but this is what we’ve always wanted.”
Enjoying a five-point cushion on automatic qualification place for the Euro 2016 tournament finals, Wales are massively odds-on at 1/25 to be in France next summer.
Wales squad for Euro 2016 qualifiers against Cyprus and Israel
Goalkeepers: Wayne Hennessey (Crystal Palace), Danny Ward (Liverpool, on loan at Aberdeen), Owain Fon Williams (Tranmere Rovers)
Defenders: James Chester (Hull City), James Collins (West Ham United), Ben Davies (Tottenham), Chris Gunter (Reading), Adam Henley (Blackburn Rovers), Ashley “Jazz” Richards (Fulham), Neil Taylor and Ashley Williams (both Swansea City)
Midfielders: David Edwards (Wolves), Andy King (Leicester City), Joe Ledley (Crystal Palace), Shaun MacDonald (Bournemouth), Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal), Jordan Williams (Liverpool, on loan at Swindon Town)
Forwards: Gareth Bale (Real Madrid), Simon Church (MK Dons), David Cotterill (Birmingham City), Tom Lawrence (Leicester, on loan at Blackburn), Hal Robson-Kanu (Reading), Sam Vokes (Burnley)