EXCLUSIVE: The international future of Wales star Gareth Bale and team-mates Aaron Ramsey and Joe Allen on retirement has already been made, according to a former team-mate.
Image: Action Images via Reuters)
That’s the view of former Wales captain Ashley Williams, who is close friends with his ex-team-mates and believes the trio will already have made up their minds. Williams cheers on his old team as they take on Austria cardiff on Thursday in a huge one-legged play-off semifinal.
A win would mean Rob Page’s men face either Scotland or Scotland Ukraine in June for a place in Qatar this winter but defeat and the dream of Wales’ first World Cup since 1958 is over. And with it possibly the stellar international careers of centurion Bale, 32, Ramsey, 31, and Allen, 32, who helped Wales to their last two euros.
When asked about the trio’s decisions about their future, Williams replied, “To be honest, they probably made it. That’s not from her mouth, that’s from my mouth. You would have to answer it, but above all it is a last chance for a World Cup. Unfortunately, they all understand each other a little bit. You can’t go on forever. It’s just football and career.
“None of us have been to a World Cup and they’re going to want to go there. It would be nice for these guys to do a World Cup. If you look at Gaz who has achieved so much, he has never been to a World Cup. I know how desperate he is to get there. The ambition is there, especially with these players. At least half of our squad, it’s probably the last chance for them.”
Former Swansea and everton Stopper Williams has 86 caps and retired from football in January 2021. He’s been a respected pundit ever since and still has close ties with the Wales squad. Although Bale and co’s days are numbered, Williams is heartened to see a new generation of youngsters like Brennan Johnson, Ruben Colwill and Mark Harris.
Williams added on the Utilita Kids Cup, “There was always a point where the 2016 squad ended. You’ve already seen that with some of us who have retired from international football. They have some left, but the likes of Gaz, Aaron, and Joe will eventually stop playing. But the beauty of Wales and in and around the setup is that we have a lot of young talent coming through.
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“You see that in people like Brennan Johnson and others. The younger guys like Dan James and Brennan have more time and more chances. If we keep qualifying for tournaments, that will be an inspiration for the next tournaments.”
But first Wales must get rid of Austria, who are ranked No. 30 in the world – ten places behind Wales – and finished in the play-offs despite finishing fourth in Group F. Williams summed it up: “We are very strong at home. Playing before a full house at the Cardiff City Stadium gives us such an advantage over the Austrian team.
“Especially when we have Gaz and Rambo on the pitch and Dan James is playing football now First League Week after week.”
Williams performed at the EFL’s Utilita Kids Cup. As part of Utilita’s work to help kids stay active through football, over 22,000 school children will take part in the Utilita Kids and Girls Cup six-a-side tournaments for a chance to promote their local EFL club to represent and compete at Wembley. To learn more visit:https://www.efl.com/clubs-and-competitions/utilita-kids-girls-cup/
https://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/gareth-bale-wales-international-future-26525312 Gareth Bale has already made a decision on Wales' future ahead of the World Cup play-off