Ashley Williams: Wales captain left out of squad for Euro 2020 qualifier
Captain Ashley Williams has been left out of the Wales squad for the Euro 2020 qualifier against Azerbaijan in Cardiff next month.
Gareth Bale will take over as captain from Williams who led Wales to the Euro 2016 semi-finals.
The 34-year-old is without a club after being released by Everton, and is now set to join Bristol City.
"I spoke to Ash last week and he was fine about it. It was not a surprise to him," said manager Ryan Giggs.
"Ash has not let me down, he has been brilliant for me as captain on and off the pitch.
"So it wasn't an easy decision. But we have players who are playing especially in his position. So I am just being fair to those players really.
"He still remains my captain and if he plays games, he will still be involved."
Swansea City defender Joe Rodon, Wigan striker Kieffer Moore and on-loan Lincoln midfielder Joe Morrell are the three uncapped players in the squad.
Rodon and Morrell, on loan from Bristol City, have received their first competitive senior call-ups.
The absence of Williams from the 26-man squad may enable Rodon to make his international debut with Swansea head coach Steve Cooper saying he would be a "fit" for Wales.
There is no place for Newcastle United defender Paul Dummett after he made himself unavailable.
Manager Ryan Giggs is able to call on midfielder Aaron Ramsey for the first time in this competition following his return from injury in a pre-season game for new club Juventus.
Giggs will be relieved that forward Gareth Bale played in Real Madrid's 3-1 victory at Celta Vigo in their La Liga opener, after a summer of uncertainty over the future of Wales' talisman.
- Swansea's Rodon a fit for Wales - Cooper
- Wales' Williams nears Bristol City deal
- Bale will stay at Madrid - Zidane
- Ramsey 'very proud' to make Juve debut
With midfielder David Brooks injured, his Bournemouth team-mate Harry Wilson, on loan from Liverpool, will be vying for a place in the forward line, which is expected to include Manchester United winger Daniel James.
Tottenham defender Ben Davies is included as he returns from summer groin surgery, alongside Chris Gunter, Wales' record cap holder with 95 international appearances. Gunter has yet to feature for Reading this season.
Wales play Azerbaijan at the Cardiff City Stadium on 6 September needing a victory after qualifying defeats in Croatia and Hungary in June 2019. They then entertain Belarus in a friendly at the same venue on 9 September.
Wayne Hennessey (Crystal Palace), Danny Ward (Leicester City), Adam Davies (Stoke City), Chris Gunter (Reading), Ben Davies (Tottenham Hotspur), Neil Taylor (Aston Villa), Connor Roberts (Swansea City), Ethan Ampadu (RB Leipzig, on loan from Chelsea), Chris Mepham (Bournemouth), Tom Lockyer (Charlton Athletic), James Lawrence (Anderlecht), Joe Rodon (Swansea City), Aaron Ramsey (Juventus), Joe Allen (Stoke City), Jonny Williams (Charlton), Harry Wilson (Bournemouth, on loan from Liverpool), Matthew Smith (QPR, on loan from Manchester City), Daniel James (Manchester United), Will Vaulks (Cardiff City), Joe Morrell (Lincoln City, on loan from Bristol City), Gareth Bale (Real Madrid), Sam Vokes (Stoke City), Tom Lawrence (Derby County), Ben Woodburn (Oxford United, on loan from Liverpool), Ryan Hedges (Aberdeen), Kieffer Moore (Wigan Athletic).
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