Hal Robson-Kanu will not repeat his heroics at the European Championship this summer after being left out of the 26-man Galles squad for this summer’s tournament, with Cardiff City’s teenage midfielder Rubin Colwill a wildcard inclusion, alongside the captain Gareth Bale, Aaron Ramsey, and Joe Allen. Galles ramp up their preparations with a friendly against world champions France in Nice on Wednesday before hosting Albania in Cardiff on Saturday.
Robson-Kanu scored a sensational goal to help Wales beat Belgium and reach the semi-finals at Euro 2016 but his international career appears to be over after he was omitted by interim manager Robert Page, who will lead the team in the continued absence of Ryan Giggs. Robson-Kanu, who received his last call-up against Mexico in March, was sent home from the last international camp after breaching a curfew at the team hotel and was not part of the Wales training camp in Portugal last week, for which Page named a 28-man squad.
Tom Lawrence of Derby County and Rabbi Matondo of Schalke, who was also sent home in March, are among those included in the recent training camp but not retained for the delayed Euro 2020 campagna.
Allen, who sustained calf and hamstring injuries on international duty in March, is one of eight survivors from Chris Coleman’s squad that exceeded all expectations in France five years ago, alongside Bale, Ramsey, Ben Davies, Chris Gunter, Jonny Williams, Wayne Hennessey and Danny Ward.
A calf injury has troubled the Tottenham defender Davies since March but Page is optimistic both he and Allen will be fit for their Group A opener against Switzerland on 12 giugno. They then face Turkey on 16 giugno, also in Baku, before travelling to Rome to take on Italy at Stadio Olimpico four days later.
Bale will captain Wales, while Aaron Ramsey’s inclusion is a major boost given the Juventus midfielder has started just two of the country’s past 21 matches. The Cardiff striker Kieffer Moore is the only bona fide No 9 in the squad, although Tyler Roberts and Harry Wilson can both play as forwards, with the latter operating as a false nine against Belgium in March.
Colwill, who turned 19 and made his first Cardiff start in April, is a surprise inclusion. The youngsters Dylan Levitt, 20, and Matthew Smith, 21, of Manchester United and City respectively, have also been included, despite the former struggling for game time on loan at the Croatian side Istra 1961. There was no place for Brennan Johnson of Nottingham Forest, who has excelled on loan at Lincoln this season, or the Cardiff midfielder Will Vaulks.
Colwill’s call-up tops off a whirlwind few weeks for the player. He found out he was going to be included on Wales’ training camp only a couple of days before they left Cardiff for the Algarve last week.
“I am pinching myself,” Colwill said at a press conference on Wednesday. “I remember the last Euros, watching at home with my family when I was 14. It is the pinnacle of a player’s career, the international game. It is what you dream of doing as a kid. To do it [be called up] for your country in such an unexpected way would be unbelievable.”
Colwill was born in Neath, near Swansea, and attended Ysgol Gyfun Ystalyfera, the same secondary school as Ben Davies. “All the way through school it was: ‘Ben Davies is this and Ben Davies is that,’” Colwill said.
“He is definitely a role model, to have played at the high level he has from school. I used to get ‘Ben Davies was better at school than you’ from all the teachers. I don’t think I was quite as good as him at school. But it does take pressure off when someone else has done it [become professional] from school. They are used to dealing with that stuff and it has definitely been a big help, him coming through before me.”