The wait to see Aaron Ramsey end his 11-month hiatus from competitive action for Wales goes on after the Juventus midfielder was left at home by the national team in order to continue his fitness rehabilitation.
Wales face Slovakia in Trnava on Thursday while Ramsey is back at their Vale of Glamorgan base battling to overcome a tight abductor muscle in his thigh in time for the crunch Euro 2020 qualifier against Croatia on Sunday. The 28-year-old midfielder has not played a competitive game for his country since November 2018.
Ryan Giggs, the Wales manager, said of Ramsey: “He has a chance for Sunday. He has a little bit of tightness in his abductor. He did a bit of training today. The physio has stayed back to work with him. We are hopeful that he will be available for Sunday.”
Wales must avoid defeat at all costs against Slovakia after battling to a 1-0 victory in the reverse fixture in March. They have fond memories of Slovakia, stretching back to beating them 2-1 at Euro 2016. Ramsey, Gareth Bale and Joe Allen played a key role that day, with Bale netting a stunning free‑kick, but the trio have not featured in a Wales qualifier together for almost two years.
Bale’s first international goal also came against Slovakia in 2006, and he is planning to deliver the goods again to kickstart Wales’s qualification campaign. “You could say this is make or break but no matter the situation we want three points and to win the game,” he said. “I am planning to score again, whether I will or not we will see.
“I have had success against Slovakia playing before but I don’t think it affects what happens tomorrow. I will be trying the best I can to help the team whether that’s scoring, assisting or being on the pitch.”
Bale looks set to finally end his tumultuous Real Madrid career at the end of the season and he is ready to let off some of his club frustrations on the international stage.
“You play with a lot of emotion, anger comes into it of course,” he said. “I am just trying to play football and enjoy it as much as I can whether I am here or in Madrid.
“I love meeting up with Wales, everybody knows that. It’s something I have always loved doing. We have a chance to qualify for the euros and this is a massive game. We want to get three points and put ourselves right back in the mix.”
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