Wales Euro 2020 reporter notebook: Rob Page has fostered a club mentality, but who will he start?

Wales are stepping up their preparations for Euro 2020 having arrived in Azerbaijan forward of their opening two group video games.

Rob Page’s aspect play three Group A video games in 9 days, beginning with Switzerland on June 12 in Baku. They additionally face Italy and Turkey.

Gareth Bale’s return to kind in the direction of the top of the Premier League season is a good omen for Wales, who reached the semi-finals in 2016 and will want their captain at his thrilling greatest if they’re to duplicate that achievement.

But what of the remainder of the squad?

Sky Sports News reporter Geraint Hughes tells the Sky Sports Football Euros podcast how he thinks Wales will fare at Euro 2020, Page’s impression and his choice dilemmas forward of the event.

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  • Wales ‘s Euro 2020 fixtures and route

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What’s the temper like within the camp?

Wales are acclimatising to their new environment

“There’s positively a sense of pleasure as main tournaments for Wales do not come round too typically. It was 58 years between the 1958 World Cup and Euro 2016, so the nation does not take issues like this without any consideration. There is a simmering confidence that is not born of conceitedness, but simply primarily based on the power inside the squad.

Also See:

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  • Euro 2020 Group A preview: Can Wales emulate Class of 2016?

“They are a little bit more than Gareth Bale. Aaron Ramsey is another obvious name but there are some really exciting young players and these Championships could be a breakthrough for them. Dan James and Joe Rodon have big roles to play, and we’ll see just how good they really are.

“I really feel Rodon will be paired up in a defence with Ben Davies, who is so skilled and persistently good. There’s some actual tempo on this Welsh aspect, but shock and pleasure is tempered as a result of they had been on the Euros 5 years in the past. They’re not boastful sufficient to suppose they are going to waltz it by means of to the semi-finals once more they usually know they will must earn it, but there’s a perception of their potential.


Wales midfielder Joe Allen says the group will be specializing in the duty forward of them, relatively than look again at their 2016 marketing campaign.

“I think they probably know more what they can do on the pitch now than perhaps we do, as the warm-ups against France and Albania didn’t really answer questions other than formation and selection dilemmas. Speaking to the players, they’re really excited. It’s like being away with a club team – they’re smiling and they’re happy as a bunch of mates. This is a completely different environment to England.

“I’ve beforehand lined three World Cups with England, and it is not essentially probably the most nice expertise. It’s a much more relaxed and respectful setting wherein to work with Wales, and thru which you can get a good understanding of their ambition. They’ll be deeply irritated if they don’t get out of the teams. Whether they do this in first, second or third is debatable.

Wales have an thrilling crop of kids together with Tyler Roberts

“But they’d be devastated if they don’t get through as they can see themselves getting a result against all three of the sides they’re set to play. Wales are viewed very differently to the way they were five years ago in France. Speaking to colleagues in Italy and Germany, there’s a bit more of a fear factor about Wales – and it doesn’t all revolve around Gareth Bale.

“It’s the tempo they’ve – Neco Williams, James – their potential to counter-attack in opposition to ageing sides. It’s one thing that groups doing their evaluation on Wales have actually picked up on. Teams definitely really feel they might concede so attempting to maintain a clear sheet is more difficult than it as soon as was.”

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‘Page has fostered a club setting’

Rob Page has a hands-on method at coaching but is revered

“It’s not how Rob will have envisaged being in charge. He was assistant to Ryan Giggs and for reasons that have been well documented, Giggs has a court appearance coming up next year and it was decided that it was best if he stepped aside.

“It’s key that Robert Page is not being referred to as the caretaker supervisor – he is absolutely the primary and the gamers know him as he was a part of the teaching set-up.

“He’s one of many nicest folks you may meet, but I would not cross him and that is the extent of respect that I imagine he’s obtained from the gamers. He’s fostered a club setting and the gamers take pleasure in one another’s firm.


Wales educated in Baku on Tuesday morning forward of their opening Euro 2020 match in opposition to Switzerland on Saturday.

“He’s hands-on and part of the training, but the players know the boundary. You can physically see that amount he puts into the job. When I interview him on pitchside after a game, he’s ashen-faced as he’s put every ounce of energy into managing Wales. The players know that he’s giving everything and is leaving no stone unturned.

“What may’ve been a very tough assimilation for Rob given the circumstances surrounding Giggs, it is to his credit score that there is not a downside. Albert Stuivenberg, who works alongside Mikel Arteta at Arsenal, is a massive a part of the set-up and Tony Strudwick (head of efficiency), goalkeeping coach Tony Roberts and the medical group on the FAW is unbelievable.

“No Welsh player during this entire pandemic has tested positive for Covid and they’ve been very stringent from the word ‘go’ and everything stems from there. It’s all planned meticulously and Page’s results since taking over have been fantastic. He’s as hard as nails but his attention to detail is remarkable.”

  • Euro 2020 Group A preview: Can Wales emulate Class of 2016?
  • Every Euro 2020 squad | Fixtures

What are Page’s choice points?


Andy King says Aaron Ramsey’s reference to Gareth Bale will be essential for Wales at Euro 2020.

“Five years ago, it felt like the team picked itself. You knew roughly the starting XI, but this time around I don’t even know what the formation is going to be. Wales usually start with a back three with wing-backs, but they can play with a back four. When they go down this route, they tend to play with Kieffer Moore.

“I nonetheless really feel Wales will go together with Wayne Hennessey in objective, whereas I do imagine it will be a again three of Rodon, Davies and Ethan Ampadu. He’s by no means began in that place for Wales, but he’s executed it a lot for Sheffield United.

“This permits Connor Roberts and Neco Williams to play as wing-backs and I really feel it will be Joe Morrell and Joe Allen in midfield with Bale, Ramsey and James because the entrance three but probably the most troublesome factor was discovering a means of getting Ramsey into the aspect – and I am unable to imagine I’m saying that! Page may resolve to go to a again 4, so he’s obtained that flexibility.

There is a debate over whether or not Kieffer Moore ought to begin

“Whatever the formation, they rarely end a game in the same formation thay started with. They have players who can move around to fit a system depending on the state of the game, and there are more players of the ability to represent Wales than there were five years ago.

“It’s a good headache for Rob Page to have, and he is aware of it – beginning with the goalkeeper as Danny Ward has been in nice kind lately. Hennessey has the expertise and he is aware of all of the gamers.”

What distinction will the journey make?


The Wales squad head off to Baku in Azerbaijan forward of their opening recreation in opposition to Switzerland on Saturday.

“You really do feel like you’re miles away from anywhere here – which we are. It’s a seven-and-a-half-hour flight to Baku, whereas Wembley is just down the road for England and Hampden Park is home from home for Scotland.

“Wales have not obtained that they usually’re not going to get large home help from Welsh followers because it’s troublesome to get right here given the price, the time, the PCR checks, visas, tickets and resort prices are extortionate.

“The hope was that round 1,000 followers may make the journey round a month in the past, but I feel we’re 200 max hardy souls who will make the journey right here for the Swiss recreation. Those who do are more likely to keep on for the Turkey recreation, which will be very completely different as a result of the Turkish border shouldn’t be a million miles away from Azerbaijan.


Wales defender Chris Mepham says the skilled gamers inside the squad will assist them succeed at Euro 2020.

“As Uefa are allowing the Baku Olympic Stadium to be at half capacity, I’m expecting around a 30,000-plus attendance for that game and the majority of the supporters will be Turkish.

“We bear in mind the passionate ‘Red Wall’ in France in 2016 when Wales travelled in ridiculous numbers, pondering of the group recreation in Bordeaux. The help was positively a consider Wales doing so properly final time, so it is going to be completely different.

“What everyone has got used to has been playing behind closed doors, and the players will have to go in with the same mentality of just enjoying the silence and channel it. They won’t have what England and Scotland have got.”

How do you assess Wales’ possibilities?


Former Wales defender Mark Bowen says it’s essential for them to not lose their opening Euro 2020 group recreation in opposition to Switzerland.

“If you look at the FIFA world rankings, there is very little between the four nations and if all four played each other on a one-off basis, you wouldn’t be too surprised with any result.

“Group F is seen because the ‘Group of Death’ but this one is hard. Switzerland are a respectable aspect and will be excessive press – that is why they’d the friendlies with France and Albania. If you do not qualify, you do not need to undergo because it’s by no means been simpler to achieve the final 16 given the format. One win might be going to get you thru, and that is why the Switzerland recreation is so essential for Wales.

“The momentum and confidence it would bring will be vital, thinking of how everything changed off the back of the win against Slovakia last time. The players felt 10 feet tall, and the same could happen again if they beat Switzerland. You don’t really want to be going to Rome in the last round needing to get a result. They are eminently capable of getting a win and a draw out of the Swiss and Turkey games.

“I anticipate they usually anticipate Wales to qualify.”

Pick your Wales XI with our group selector…

Sky Sports Football Euros Podcast: Gary Neville on England’s possibilities, why France are favourites, and the way Euro 2020 can carry the nation

Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville (5:07) joins Peter Smith on the Sky Sports Football Euros Podcast to construct as much as the large Euro 2020 kick-off. Neville has his say on England’s strengths and weaknesses, what they will have to do to beat favourites France to the title, and the way this gifted younger group of England gamers can increase the spirits of all the nation.

During the podcast, we additionally get the lowdown on how Scotland and Wales (22.54) are shaping up from the Sky Sports News reporters following their campaigns, Charles Paterson and Geraint Hughes. Plus Valentina Fass from Sky Italy and Uli Kohler from Sky Germany (56.39) give us the view from the continent on how their very own nations are trying.

Sky Sports deputy soccer editor Kate Burlaga and soccer author Ben Grounds will even be sharing their prime suggestions for the event, together with who will be lifting the trophy on July 11 – and which gamers will gentle up the event (1.09:35).

Listen to the Sky Sports Football Euros Podcast on: Spotify | Apple | Castbox

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