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Rob Page: ‘We must now look to the future’

Wales manager Robert Page believes his Wales side must now look to the future generation of young players to help them qualify for the next major tournament the 2024 European Championships in Germany.

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Speaking after the Wales’ 3-0 defeat to England which eliminated them from this year’s World Cup in Qatar, Page urged the nation to not be disappointed, but to be proud of their journey and achievements made by reaching their first World Cup finals since 1958.

A second half double from Marcus Rashford and a Phil Foden header had left Wales winless in the finals, with just a solitary point from their three group games. Page though wants to look to the future and help guide the Dragons to their third European finals in a row.

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Wales start their Euro 2024 campaign away to Croatia in March, with Armenia, Latvia and Turkey also in their group.

“My message is don’t be disappointed we’ve got to build for the future again now and getting to the World Cup is an incredible achievement for that group of players”, said Page.

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“It’s very tough at this moment in time. I thought the first half we were outstanding I really did. The effort they put in without the ball was exceptional.

“We addressed at half time that we could have been a little better with the ball again, but I won’t have a bad word said about that group of players. They’ve given everything today.

“The first goal was a wonderful strike. The second disappoints me a little bit, but I don’t want to talk about negatives today. We put a shift in.

“We’re disappointed to leave the tournament. If we’re going to go out, that’s the way to go. The first half performance was excellent”.

A spate of injuries through the match including captain Gareth Bale at half time, added to the suspension of first choice goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey for his dismissal in the 2-0 defeat to Iran in the previous group match did not help the cause for Wales as England took control after a quick fire double after the break. 

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Page though believes the experience’s gained from the young players introduced will stand them in good stead to help Wales qualify for future tournaments.

“Five minutes before half time he was injured [Gareth Bale]. He tried to get to the ball and did, but he felt his hamstring.  Ben Davies had to come off also with an injury. We’ve had to put Ethan [Ampadu] to right back. Joe Allen played his first 90 minutes in ages, continued Page.

“By then my hand was forced a little. I needed to expose some of them, like Reuben coming on and getting minutes. Joe Morrell he’s come on, we know what he can do for us. He’s done it time and time again

“It was a massive effort from all the group, and I couldn’t be more proud of them. To get here is a massive achievement.

“It’s important we learn from it. We’ve had a taste of it and we want to continue to qualify for major tournaments”.

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(Lead image: Action Plus Sports Images / Alamy Live News)

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