Wales Euro 2021 squad: Who joins captain Gareth Bale in 26-man party?

Wales Euro 2021 squad: Who joins captain Gareth Bale in 26-man party? - PA
Wales Euro 2021 squad: Who joins captain Gareth Bale in 26-man party? - PA

Wales manager Robert Page has admitted the surprise selection of teenage midfielder Rubin Colwill is a "gamble" but insisted the 19-year-old is ready to cope with the demands of this summer’s European Championship.

Colwill was the shock inclusion in Page’s final squad for the tournament, having made only six senior appearances for Cardiff City in his entire career. Colwill made his Championship debut in February and played just 191 minutes of senior football this season.

His call-up has evoked memories of Theo Walcott’s selection for England ahead of the 2006 World Cup. Walcott was picked at the age of 17 despite having no previous international experience.

The inclusion of Colwill meant there was no space in Page’s squad for the likes of Tom Lawrence, who has 23 caps for Wales, and Hal Robson-Kanu, who was one of the heroes of their memorable Euro 2016 campaign.

"Of course it is going to raise some eyebrows," said Page of Colwill. "Of course it is. He is uncapped. But I made a decision and I am confident he is going to be a player in the future, absolutely. I know that and I can see what he has got.

"[Cardiff manager] Mick McCarthy has shown confidence in him this season. I have seen him play for Cardiff in the Championship and he has done really, really well. Yeah, it is a bit of a gamble, but I trust in him.

"I know what he brings to the team and what he brings to the group. He is a confident young lad, he is not fazed by anything and he has got a bright future in front of him."

Page said earlier this week that Colwill "blew us all away" with his performances and conduct during their pre-tournament training camp. The Wales manager sees the teenager as an option in midfield, as an attacking midfielder or on the right.

Colwill joined Cardiff’s academy at the age, and has represented his country at under-17 and under-21 level. From Neath, Colwill attended the same school as Ben Davies, the Tottenham Hotspur defender who is now his international team-mate.

The teenager could make his international debut in an international friendly against France on Wednesday night, with Page set to name an experimental side against the world champions.

Wales are carefully managing the fitness of Davies, Aaron Ramsey and Joe Allen, with Page focusing on ensuring his key players are primed for their opening match against Switzerland in Baku.

On Ramsey, who has endured a stop-start season at Juventus, Page said: "Aaron has not played the amount of minutes that he would have liked in Italy. We have to be sympathetic. We can't push him at 100 miles per hour to start with.

"What is important is I have all the best players in the squad ready for that first game against Switzerland. It's pointless pushing him early doors and have somebody break down when you are past that point of no return and they are out for the first couple of games."

There are eight survivors from the group which reached the Euro 2016 semi-finals in France - Bale, Ramsey, Ben Davies, Chris Gunter, Danny Ward, Joe Allen, Jonny Williams and Wayne Hennessey.

Stoke midfielder Allen would have missed the tournament had it not been postponed for 12 months from last summer because of the coronavirus pandemic. The 31-year-old suffered a ruptured Achilles in March 2020 and has been declared fit despite missing the last two months of the season with calf and hamstring problems.

Squad news

Gareth Bale has refused to rule out retiring from football after this summer’s European Championships as he continues to avoid all discussions about his future. Bale, who is due to return to Real Madrid following his season-long loan at Tottenham Hotspur, was twice asked about reports in Spain that he is considering hanging up his boots in the coming weeks.

On both occasions, the 31-year-old chose against clarifying the situation, saying instead that he does not want to cause any “chaos” or “drama” ahead of the Euros. Bale, who will be the primary attacking threat in the Wales team as they look to repeat their heroics at Euro 2016, said: “Obviously there has been a lot of things written about whether I am doing this and doing that.

"For me, the main thing is I don't want to say anything that is going to cause more chaos or more drama or cause a distraction. I just want to focus on this Euros. When the Euros finishes for us, then I will sit down and decide what I want to do.”

Pressed again on the issue of retirement, and the worries of Wales fans that this could be their last chance to see him play for the national team, he added: "Yeah, well, it's one of those. As I said, I'll sit down after the Euros and decide what I want to do. I want to give everything into this Euros and put in everything I can, like we do in every single game. If I say something then it is just going to cause even more chaos so there's no point."

Bale has one year remaining on his lucrative Real Madrid contract, which is worth £600,000 per week. His agent, Jonathan Barnett, last week described the Spanish reports about Bale’s possible retirement as "rubbish reporting".

Bale said in March that he dreams of playing in a World Cup for Wales, at the start of their qualifying campaign for the 2022 tournament in Qatar.

Asked on Monday about the possibility of the World Cup representing his last campaign for his country, he said: "Yes, it could be. Obviously you want to try to qualify for all the major tournaments like we all do. But like I have said, now is the time to solely focus on the Euros and I don’t want to be thinking about other things I have said in the past."

Squad in full

Goalkeepers: Wayne Hennessey (Crystal Palace), Danny Ward (Leicester City), Adam Davies (Stoke City)

Defenders: Chris Gunter (Charlton Athletic), Ben Davies (Tottenham Hotspur), Connor Roberts (Swansea City), Ethan Ampadu (Chelsea), Chris Mepham (Bournemouth), Joe Rodon (Tottenham Hotspur), Neco Williams (Liverpool), Rhys Norrington-Davies (Sheffield United), Ben Cabango (Swansea City), Tom Lockyer (Luton)

Midfielders: Aaron Ramsey (Juventus), Joe Allen (Stoke City), Jonny Williams (Cardiff City), Harry Wilson (Liverpool), Daniel James (Manchester United), David Brooks (Bournemouth), Joe Morrell (Luton Town), Matt Smith (Manchester City), Dylan Levitt (Manchester United), Rubin Colwill (Cardiff City)

Forwards: Gareth Bale (Real Madrid), Kieffer Moore (Cardiff City), Tyler Roberts (Leeds United)

Wales Euro 2021 fixtures

Wales are in Group A, alongside Turkey, Italy and Switzerland

  • Wales vs Switzerland - Saturday, June 12, 2pm (Baku)

  • Turkey vs Wales - Wednesday, June 16, 5pm (Baku)

  • Italy vs Wales - Sunday, June 20, 5pm (Rome)

Group A latest standings