Aaron Ramsey named Wales captain for second time TEN YEARS after being stripped following Gareth Bale retirement
AARON RAMSEY has been named Wales captain for a second time – TEN-AND-A-HALF YEARS after he was stripped of the armband.
The Nice midfielder, 32, replaces the retired Gareth Bale, starting with the Euro 2024 qualifying double-header against Croatia and Latvia this month.
Ramsey was Dragons’ captain under the late Gary Speed as a blossoming star during his time at Arsenal.
But Chris Coleman switched his leader from Rambo to Ashley Williams in October 2012 following the shock death of Speed the previous November.
Boss Robert Page, who announced in Cardiff that Ramsey would lead his 24-man squad, said: “Aaron was vice-captain behind Gareth and to me it’s the natural progression.
“While we’ve still got someone of his quality in the squad it was the natural decision.
“Aaron took it hard after the World Cup like we all did. But there was no doubt whatsoever about his future and wanting to play for Wales.”
Page revealed it was a close decision between Ramsey and Tottenham‘s Ben Davies, who will become Wales‘ vice-captain for the Group D clashes in Split on March 25 and the Latvia tie in Cardiff three days later.
He added: “I see Ben Davies as a captain of the future and his role will be similar to that of Gareth and Aaron.”
This is the first squad without most-capped player and record goalscorer Bale after his retirement from football in January.
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Page conceded: “It’s strange. Gareth was an unbelievable servant and player and he will be missed.”
Nottingham Forest forward Brennan Johnson has been named in the squad despite carrying a groin injury.
The 21-year-old, with nine goals in all competitions this season, limped off in the 3-1 Premier League defeat to Tottenham on Saturday and will be assessed by Wales when they meet up on Sunday.
As well as talisman Bale, Joe Allen, Chris Gunter and Jonny Williams have also ended their international careers since the disappointing World Cup in November.
Page has included in-form Millwall striker Tom Bradshaw, 30, who receives his first international call-up in five years since winning the last of his three caps in China.
Bradshaw has scored 13 goals for the Championship play-off contenders this season and also won the division’s player of the month award for February.
Page has also named four uncapped players in Luke Harris, Jordan James, Ollie Cooper and Nathan Broadhead.
Page said: “We’ve reset and reframed after the World Cup. We knew after the World Cup there was this evolution that would happen. There are no surprises in the lads we have brought in.”
Wales squad – Goalkeepers: Hennessey, Ward, A Davies. Defenders: B Davies, Rodon, Mepham, Ampadu, Roberts, Lockyer, Cabango, N Williams. Midfielders: Ramsey, Morrell, Wilson, James, Harris, Thomas, Burns. Forwards: Moore, Johnson, James, Bradshaw, Cooper, Broadhead