Aaron Ramsey named Wales captain in wake of Gareth Bale retirement

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Aaron Ramsey has been named as Wales captain following the retirement of Gareth Bale.

The 32-year-old midfielder, who has won 78 caps, will lead his country for the first time in the forthcoming Euro 2024 qualifiers against Croatia and Latvia later this month.

Ramsey will spearhead a youthful looking 24-man squad named by boss Rob Page on Tuesday.

Page said: “Aaron was the vice-captain behind Gareth and I see this as a natural progression.

“He’s got a big opportunity to work with the young players. He’s in the right time of his career to lead the boys out and he is relishing it.

“I’ve spoken to Aaron. He’s very appreciative of it and he’s looking forward to role.”

Bale ended his distinguished career in January after winning a record 111 caps for the Wales men’s national team.

Ramsey has done the job before, having been appointed Wales captain at the age of 20 by the late Gary Speed in March 2011.

Speed’s successor Chris Coleman gave the armband to Ashley Williams in October 2012 to allow Ramsey to focus on his football.

As well as the departure of record scorer Bale, Chris Gunter, Joe Allen and Jonny Williams have also retired from the international scene since Wales’ disappointing World Cup campaign before Christmas, where they scored only once and finished bottom of their group.

Page has named four uncapped players in his squad for the trip to World Cup semi-finalists Croatia on March 25 and the home game with Latvia three days later.

Midfielders Jordan James and Ollie Cooper, who were present in Qatar but not part of the official World Cup squad, both feature.

Fulham youngster Luke Harris and Ipswich striker Nathan Broadhead are also included.

Tom Bradshaw returns after his fine form for Millwall saw him named the EFL Sky Bet Championship player of the month for February.

The last of Bradshaw’s three Wales appearances came at the China Cup in March 2018, but the 30-year-old has won a recall after scoring six goals in as many games.

David Brooks is not included after returning to the Bournemouth squad on Saturday for the first time in 529 days following his cancer diagnosis.

Brooks, an unused substitute in the Cherries’ 1-0 win over Liverpool, was diagnosed with Stage 2 Hodgkin lymphoma while on Wales duty in October 2021 but revealed he was cancer-free last May.

Wales are sweating on the fitness of Brennan Johnson after the in-form Nottingham Forest forward was injured at Tottenham on Saturday.

Nottingham Forest v Manchester City – Premier League – City Ground
In-form Nottingham Forest forward Brennan Johnson is a fitness doubt (Tim Goode/PA)

Dundee United midfielder Dylan Levitt and Tyler Roberts, the Leeds striker on loan at QPR, are unavailable through injury.

Cardiff pair Rubin Colwill and Mark Harris and MK Dons midfielder Matthew Smith are also absent after being in the World Cup squad.

Wales squad: D Ward (Leicester), W Hennessey (Nottingham Forest), A Davies (Sheff Utd), C Roberts (Burnley), C Mepham (Bournemouth), J Rodon (Rennes, on loan from Tottenham), B Davies (Tottenham), T Lockyer (Luton), B Cabango (Swansea), N Williams (Nottingham Forest), W Burns (Ipswich), E Ampadu (Spezia, on loan from Chelsea), J Morrell (Portsmouth), J James (Birmingham), O Cooper (Swansea), L Harris (Fulham), S Thomas (Blackburn, on loan from Huddersfield), A Ramsey (Nice), H Wilson (Fulham), B Johnson (Nottingham Forest), D James (Fulham, on loan from Leeds), K Moore (Bournemouth), T Bradshaw (Millwall), N Broadhead (Ipswich).

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