Aaron Ramsey to miss China Cup as Ryan Giggs names first Wales squad

Aaron Ramsey
Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey was Wales captain before being succeeded by Ashley Williams

Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey was a notable absentee as Ryan Giggs named his Wales squad for the China Cup on Thursday.

Giggs, naming his first squad since his appointment in January, said Ramsey was to have a "small procedure" during the international break.

Reading midfielder David Edwards is not included and has retired from international football.

Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale is in the squad.

Uncapped Brentford defender Chris Mepham is also included, while there are first call-ups for Swansea defender Connor Roberts, Preston midfielder Billy Bodin and Ipswich goalkeeper Michael Crowe.

Ramsey played for Arsenal in the second leg of their Europa League tie with AC Milan on Thursday, but Giggs said the international break was "a good time" for him to have the procedure.

"It's a blow because he's a quality player but it's the best thing to do for the future and for Aaron," said Giggs.

Everton defender Ashley Williams will continue as Wales captain.

West Brom striker Hal Robson-Kanu is absent, as is Sheffield United winger David Brooks, who is not risked as he recovers from glandular fever. Brooks is instead named in the Wales Under-21 squad.

Liverpool goalkeeper Danny Ward is not in the squad because of an issue with his visa and Giggs said "it's not his fault".

Defender Paul Dummett asked not to be considered as he wants to focus on Newcastle's Premier League relegation battle.

Wales at the 2018 China Cup
Thursday, 22 March: China v Wales
Monday, 26 March: Wales v Uruguay or Czech Republic

Giggs' backroom staff confirmed

Giggs confirmed Osian Roberts, Tony Roberts, Albert Stuivenberg and Tony Strudwick as his backroom team as he finalises preparation for the China Cup.

Wales will play hosts China in one of two games in Nanning before facing either Uruguay or the Czech Republic.

Former Manchester United coach Stuivenberg has had spells as manager of Belgian first division club Genk and the Netherlands Under-17 and Under-21 teams, as well as working as youth coach at Feyenoord and Al Jazira Club.

Former assistant manager Osian Roberts and goalkeeping coach Tony Roberts retain roles in the new-look management team.

Strudwick, Manchester United's head of athletic development, replaces Dr Ryland Morgans as head of performance.

Giggs said: "I'm delighted with the staff. Everyone who I've brought in were my first choice."

Ashley Williams
Ashley Williams scored the first goal of Wales' Euro 2016 quarter-final win against Belgium

Williams stays as captain

Williams, 33, was appointed Wales skipper by Chris Coleman in October 2012, leading the side during their historic run to the Euro 2016 semi-finals.

The 76-cap centre-back ruled out international retirement last autumn, despite admitting his "devastation" at Wales' defeat by the Republic of Ireland that ended hopes of qualification for the 2018 World Cup.

The decision to retain Everton defender Williams as skipper after a difficult season with his club was an easy one, according to Giggs.

"I saw no reason for change," he said. "A couple of weeks ago I had a meeting with all the staff in Manchester for us to get to know each other and Ash came along. He's a big part of that, he's been a brilliant servant both as player and captain.

"There's no reason to change. He's getting to the end of his career so it's something will have to look at in the future, but he's been a brilliant captain on and off the pitch and he'll continue to do that."

Wales squad: Wayne Hennessey (Crystal Palace), Chris Maxwell (Preston), Michael Crowe (Ipswich); Ashley Williams (Everton), James Chester (Aston Villa), Ben Davies (Tottenham), Chris Gunter (Reading), Neil Taylor (Aston Villa), Declan John (Rangers), Connor Roberts (Swansea), Ethan Ampadu (Chelsea), Tom Lockyer (Bristol Rovers); Joe Allen (Stoke), Joe Ledley (Derby), Lee Evans (Sheffield United), Andy King (Swansea), Ryan Hedges (Barnsley), Chris Mepham (Brentford), Marley Watkins (Norwich), Tom Lawrence (Derby), Gareth Bale (Real Madrid), Ben Woodburn (Liverpool), Harry Wilson (Hull); Billy Bodin (Preston), Sam Vokes (Burnley), Tom Bradshaw (Barnsley)

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