• International football

Allen in Wales squad despite injury concerns

ESPN staff
March 13, 2013
Chris Coleman has included Joe Allen in his latest squad © Getty Images

Liverpool's Joe Allen has been selected for Wales' World Cup qualifying double-header against Scotland and Croatia despite struggling with a shoulder injury.

Allen, 22, is set to undergo surgery at some point after a longstanding shoulder complaint flared up again but his club are yet to decide when his operation will be.

In the meantime, he has been included in Coleman's squad as Wales look to build upon February's encouraging friendly win over Austria.

"(Liverpool manager) Brendan Rodgers commented that at some stage he will have to have surgery but at no time have we been told he's not available," Coleman said. "If that was the case we wouldn't pick Joe.

"I totally respect Brendan Rodgers and Liverpool Football Club and I think we'll always try to work with club because they aren't our players and we're only borrowing them, but we've not told been told anything so at the minute he's very much in the squad."

Tottenham winger Gareth Bale is also in the squad, with Wales hoping to see a continuation of his stunning recent form, which has delivered 11 goals in his last 10 games.

However, Celtic full-back Adam Matthews misses out with the hamstring injury he picked up in the Scottish club's Champions League exit at the hands of Juventus.

"I thought Adam was outstanding against Austria and he really is developing into a fine young player, so it's disappointing," Coleman added. "We know he's definitely out of the first game but we don't know about the second one yet, there' a bit more time for him so it's wait and see on that.

"He has an extra three or four days which with the injury could make a big difference. At the minute we have to think he's unavailable. It would have been a great game for him in Scotland given he's playing in Scotland with Celtic and he's in tremendous form, so it's a shame."

James Collins provides a welcome option at centre-half after missing the 2-1 win over the Austrians, while Leeds striker Steve Morison is another to return from injury. But Darcy Blake has been deemed short of match fitness and is omitted.

Uncapped midfielder Jonathan Williams is promoted from the Under-21 squad after scoring in their 3-0 win over Iceland and impressing with his performances for Crystal Palace.

Cardiff striker Craig Bellamy is again included after rubbishing reports of retiring from international football. Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey is also back after being a late withdrawal for the game against Austria.

Wayne Hennessey is a long-term absentee as the Wolves No. 1 continues his rehabilitation from a serious knee injury, so Boaz Myhill, Lewis Price and Owain Fon Williams are the three goalkeepers selected.

Wales face Scotland, in Gordon Strachan's first competitive game in charge, at Hampden Park a week on Friday, before meeting Croatia in Swansea the following Tuesday. Coleman's side are currently seven points off the pace in Group A.

Wales squad: Boaz Myhill; Lewis Price; Owain Fon Williams; Ben Davies; James Collins; Chris Gunter; Joel Lynch; Ashley Richards; Sam Ricketts; Ashley Williams; Joe Allen; Jack Collison; Andy King; Joe Ledley; Aaron Ramsey; David Vaughan; Jonathan Williams; Gareth Bale; Craig Bellamy; Simon Church; Steve Morison; Hal Robson-Kanu; Sam Vokes.

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