Arsenal legend refusing to give up on World Cup 2026 dream despite snub

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AARON RAMSEY has no plans to call it a day just yet.

The injury-plagued Wales captain, 33, was left out of Robert Page’s squad for next month’s friendlies with Gibraltar and Slovakia after playing only 15 times last season.

Aaron Ramsey has completed 90 minutes just once for Cardiff since his return to his boyhood club last summer

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Aaron Ramsey has completed 90 minutes just once for Cardiff since his return to his boyhood club last summerCredit: Getty
Ramsey did not play a minute as Wales saw their Euro 2024 dream ended by Poland after Dan James missed in the play-off final penalty shootout in March

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Ramsey did not play a minute as Wales saw their Euro 2024 dream ended by Poland after Dan James missed in the play-off final penalty shootout in MarchCredit: Getty

Cardiff’s Ramsey was on the bench for the Euro 2024 play-off final penalty shootout defeat to Poland in March due to his lack of match action.

The Dragons’ heartbreaking exit prompted fears the ex-Arsenal and Juventus star would follow Gareth Bale and Joe Allen into retirement.

But Wales boss Page claims the fire still burns as brightly as ever for the 84-cap midfielder.

Ramsey is now focusing on getting fit for pre-season at club level, where he has one year left on his contract.

Page said: “Only Aaron can answer the question but there’s no alarms raised for me whatsoever.

“Having had the conversations with him, he is still passionate about playing football.

“He’s just as passionate now as he was five years ago when I first came across him. So there are no issues with that.

“Aaron loves the game and lives for it. He will give it everything and give himself the best opportunity to continue playing.

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“He wants to throw full focus and take charge of his own rehabilitation and fitness.”

Ramsey played just twice in Wales’ Euro 2024 campaign with his last outing for his country against Latvia nine months ago.

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But the Dragons hope a summer away from international duty will see him return for the Nations League in September.

Then Page’s men start their bid to reach the World Cup in 2026 when the qualifiers start next March.

When asked if Ramsey can play on until the finals in USA, Canada and Mexico, Page replied: “Who knows?

“We’re going to have to see how he gets on in pre-season from a fitness point of view.

“It’s well-documented he struggled with his fitness last year.

“There’s been nobody more frustrated than Aaron and myself because we all wanted him to come into the camp in March for the play-offs fighting fit.

“But we didn’t have that. It was frustrating for all of us.

“If he is fit and playing, doing well and being able to play two games a week that we would like him to, then he will be selected.”

Veteran goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey, 37, is also out of the 25-man squad with a serious Achilles injury.

Fulham star Harry Wilson and David Brooks, who won promotion with Southampton, are also absent with injuries.

But Liverpool’s Lewis Koumas, 18, is one of five uncapped players included.

WALES SQUAD

Goalkeepers: Danny Ward (Leicester), Adam Davies (Sheffield United), Tom King (Wolves)

Defenders: Connor Roberts (Leeds – on loan from Burnley), Fin Stevens (Oxford – on loan from Brentford), Joe Rodon (Leeds – on loan from Tottenham), Chris Mepham (Bournemouth), Ben Cabango (Swansea), Joe Low (Wycombe), Ben Davies (Tottenham), Jay Dasilva (Coventry)

Midfielders: Ethan Ampadu (Leeds), Jordan James (Birmingham), Josh Sheehan (Bolton), Charlie Savage (Reading), Charlie Crew (Leeds), Wes Burns (Ipswich), Rubin Colwill (Cardiff), Daniel James (Leeds), Rabbi Matondo (Rangers)

Forwards: Nathan Broadhead (Ipswich), Brennan Johnson (Tottenham), Kieffer Moore (Ipswich – on loan from Bournemouth), Liam Cullen (Swansea), Lewis Koumas (Liverpool)

The others are Leeds midfielder Charlie Crew, 17, Brentford’s Fin Stevens, who has been on loan at Oxford, Jay DaSilva of Coventry and Wolves’ Tom King.

Forward Koumas, son of ex-Wales and West Brom midfielder Jason, made a goalscoring debut for the U21s in March and caught the eye of the Welsh management.

Wales travel to the Algarve for a friendly against Gibraltar on June 6 followed by the away clash in the Slovakian city of Trnava three days later.

Page added: “He has shown his potential at Liverpool, played first-team games and scored goals. He’s done really well.

“Now it’s down to the development of Lewis from a domestic point of view as to what level he can go to. He has shown talent. He’s got an eye for goal and I’m excited to be working with him.”

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