Crystal Palace's Joe Ledley (L) and Wayne Hennessey inside the stadium before the match
Chris Coleman has named Joe Ledley in his 23-man Wales squad for the European Championship finals in France, only 24 days after the Crystal Palace midfielder broke his leg. Ledley has been facing a race against time to prove his fitness, but Coleman and his staff have been encouraged by the midfielder’s progress and believe that he can recover in time to play in the group stage.
Whether Ledley will be able to take part in Wales’ opening game against Slovakia on 11 June remains to be seen, but Coleman left the door open to that possibility when he announced his squad on Tuesday. Ledley was a key player during the qualification campaign and it is a measure of Coleman’s faith in him that he has given him every chance to feature in France.
The 29-year-old has resumed light training since suffering the fracture in Crystal Palace’s 2-1 victory over Stoke City and will now step up his training as Wales fine-tune their preparations for the finals. Coleman also confirmed that Joe Allen has a slight knee problem and that Hal Robson-Kanu has picked up an injury that will rule him out of Sunday’s friendly against Sweden, but both players are expected to be fit for the Slovakia match.
The position with Ledley is not so clear-cut but Coleman sounded positive. “The way we’re looking at Joe is that we’ve got this week and next to assess, is he going to be available for Slovakia or the England game? We can’t say when he’s going to be ready at this time,” he said. “What the medical team know is that he’s ahead of the curve in his rehab and that’s a credit to Joe. We think he’s got a good chance for that first game but we’ll see how he progresses.
“He trained on the grass, albeit with the medical team in Portugal, and looked very good. He’s a big part of this squad and the work he has put in has been incredible. Over the last two years Joe has been fantastic on and off the pitch, so he deserves to go. On Joe Allen he had a little knock in training, but we expect him to be OK. We’re not in a position where we need to rush him. He’ll be back on the grass pretty soon.”
Wes Burns, Paul Dummett and, perhaps a little surprisingly, Emyr Hughes have been left out of the Wales squad. All three are on the standby list along with Chris Maxwell, the Preston North End goalkeeper.
Wales’ squad for Euro 2016
Wayne Hennessey (Crystal Palace), Danny Ward (Liverpool), Owain Fon Williams (Inverness), Ben Davies (Tottenham Hotspur), James Chester (West Bromwich Albion), James Collins (West Ham), Chris Gunter (Reading), Ashley Richards (Fulham), Neil Taylor (Swansea City), Ashley Williams (Swansea City), Joe Allen (Liverpool), David Edwards (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Andy King (Leicester City), Joe Ledley (Crystal Palace), Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal), David Vaughan (Crystal Palace), Jonathan Williams (Crystal Place), George Williams (Fulham), Gareth Bale (Real Madrid), Simon Church (MK Dons), David Cotterill (Birmingham City), Hal Robson-Kanu (Reading), Sam Vokes (Burnley).
This article was written by Stuart James, for theguardian.com on Tuesday 31st May 2016 14.39 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010