Wales call up uncapped Nathan Broadhead for World Cup play-off and Nations League

Nathan Broadhead
Bangor-born Nathan Broadhead has represented Wales from under-17 through to under-21 levels
Men's World Cup qualifier play-off final: Wales v Ukraine/Scotland
Venue: Cardiff City Stadium Date: Sunday, 5 June Kick-off: 17:00 BST
Coverage: Live on BBC Radio 5 Live, Radio Wales, Radio Cymru, BBC Sport website and app, plus live text online. Highlights BBC Wales.

Wales have named uncapped forward Nathan Broadhead in their squad for June's World Cup play-off final and four Nations League games.

The 24-year-old has scored 13 goals in 26 appearances for Sunderland on loan from Everton this season.

Leicester goalkeeper Danny Ward and Bournemouth striker Kieffer Moore return from injury, while midfielders Matt Smith and Dylan Levitt are back.

Captain Gareth Bale is included despite his limited game-time at Real Madrid.

That proved no problem for the 32-year-old in March. Having made only two appearances for Real since November, Bale scored two brilliant goals to give Wales a 2-1 win over Austria in their World Cup play-off semi-final.

Victory set up a one-leg play-off final against Scotland or Ukraine in Cardiff on Sunday, 5 June, as Wales aim to qualify for a first World Cup since 1958.

Four days before that huge encounter, Wales visit Poland in the Nations League. They then host the Netherlands and Belgium on 8 and 11 June, before travelling to the Netherlands for their final game of this window on 14 June.

With that hectic schedule in mind, manager Robert Page has selected a 27-man squad seemingly designed to help manage the congested fixtures.

That is bigger than the squad selected in March, with the returns of Ward, Moore, Smith and Levitt bolstering Page's options.

Defender Ben Cabango and forward Tyler Roberts are out injured, while midfielder Will Vaulks and in-form Derby County captain Tom Lawrence are among those overlooked.

Bale and Aaron Ramsey are unlikely to feature prominently in Poland just four days before the World Cup play-off, with Page expected to rotate in Wroclaw to keep his first-choice players fresh for their match against Scotland or Ukraine.

"There's going to be individual plans for players like that, of course, and I'm not going to necessarily train them same way as the younger group," said Page.

"There's got to be a common-sense approach. They [Bale and Ramsey] will be with the group.

"I'm not going to say how many minutes they'll play, if any, in Poland. I'll keep my cards close to my chest.

"But we've all got a pretty good idea of what the team's going to look like in Poland compared to the one against the winners of Scotland-Ukraine."

Nottingham Forest forward Brennan Johnson and Huddersfield Town winger Sorba Thomas might also have their minutes managed in Poland as they will be playing for their clubs in the Championship play-off final just three days earlier on Sunday, 29 May.

"The size of the squad is purely because of the amount of games we've got in quick succession," said Page.

"We can't ask the players we've got to go three days later and compete at the top level.

"The Nations League gives us an opportunity to have a look at some of the younger players. We've seen first-hand what Brennan Johnson has been doing at Nottingham Forest and undoubtedly he's going to be the future of Welsh football.

"It's exposing players like Brennan - and Rubin [Colwill], Rabbi [Matondo] and the players we saw against the Czech Republic - to top-class opposition and not necessarily help us win games of football now but give them that experience to enable us to win games further down the path.

"With regards to the final, the Poland game is a game we want to win but we'll have one eye on the final, absolutely."

Wales squad

Goalkeepers: Hennessey, Ward, A Davies

Defenders: B Davies, Rodon, Mepham, Gunter, Norrington-Davies, Roberts, N Williams

Midfielders: Allen, Morrell, Ampadu, Smith, Ramsey, Levitt, Matondo, Thomas, Colwill, Wilson, J Williams

Forwards: Bale, James, Harris, Broadhead, Moore, Johnson.

Wales' June fixtures (all BST)

Wednesday, 1 June (17:00): Poland v Wales (Nations League)

Sunday, 5 June (17:00): Wales v Scotland or Ukraine (World Cup play-off final)

Wednesday, 8 June (19:45): Wales v Netherlands (Nations League)

Saturday, 11 June (19:45): Wales v Belgium (Nations League)

Tuesday, 14 June (19:45): Netherlands v Wales (Nations League)

Comments

Join the conversation

These comments are now closed.

232 comments

Top Stories

Elsewhere on the BBC