Lewis Koumas leads uncapped trio in squad as Wales look to the future

Liverpool striker Lewis Koumas has received his first senior Wales call for next week’s friendlies against Gibraltar and Slovakia.

Koumas has been named in a 25-man squad alongside fellow uncapped youngsters Charlie Crew and Fin Stevens.

But veteran goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey and skipper Aaron Ramsey are among a list of absentees that also include David Brooks, Harry Wilson and Neco Williams.

“We’ve got to look to the future,” said Wales manager Rob Page, selecting his first squad since the disappointment of missing out on Euro 2024 after losing a penalty shoot-out to Poland in March.

“The games that we’ve got give us an opportunity to develop some of these younger players and expose them to the environment.

“They’ll get a taste of it so come September when we play the Nations League, and come next year when the World Cup qualifiers start, they’ve already had a taste of that experience.”

Koumas’ introduction is one that will excite Wales fans following his breakthrough at Anfield during the second half of last season.

The 18-year-old forward, son of former Wales midfielder Jason, scored on his Liverpool debut against Southampton in the FA Cup and was on the bench at Wembley for the Carabao Cup final victory over Chelsea.

Wales v Lithuania – UEFA Euro U21 Championship – Qualifying – Group I – Rodney Parade
Lewis Koumas scored a winning goal on his Wales Under-21 debut in March (David Davies/PA)

Chester-born Koumas is joined by 17-year-old midfielder Crew who has yet to make his debut in senior football, but was in several Leeds matchday squads towards the end of the season.

Full-back Stevens, 21, was sent out on loan by Brentford last term and made 34 league appearances in helping Oxford win promotion to the Sky Bet Championship.

Page said: “How can I ignore it when he (Koumas) has done what he has done for Liverpool in the first team?

“It’s the same with Charlie, who has been part of the Leeds squad.

Aaron Ramsey
Wales captain Aaron Ramsey will miss the friendlies against Gibraltar and Slovakia after an injury-hit season at Cardiff (Nick Potts/PA)

“It would be foolish of me not to get these two lads up.”

Wales play Gibraltar at the Estadio Algarve in Portugal on June 6 before meeting Slovakia in Trnava three days later.

Tottenham defender Ben Davies is again set to captain Wales in the absence of midfielder Ramsey, who suffered an injury-plagued season after returning to Cardiff last summer.

Squad: D Ward (Leicester), A Davies (Sheff Utd), T King (Wolves), C Roberts (Leeds, on loan from Burnley), F Stevens (Oxford, on loan from Brentford), J Rodon (Leeds, on loan from Tottenham), C Mepham (Bournemouth), B Cabango (Swansea), J Low (Wycombe), B Davies (Tottenham), J DaSilva (Coventry), E Ampadu (Leeds), J James (Birmingham), J Sheehan (Bolton), C Savage (Reading), C Crew (Leeds), W Burns (Ipswich), B Johnson (Tottenham), R Colwill (Cardiff), D James (Leeds), R Matondo (Rangers), N Broadhead (Ipswich), K Moore (Ipswich, on loan from Bournemouth), L Cullen (Swansea), L Koumas (Liverpool).

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