Rob Page: Wales boss wants to stay on as manager despite heartbreaking defeat in Euro 2024 play-off to Poland on penalties


Wales manager Rob Page says he “absolutely” wants to stay on as national team manager despite missing out on Euro 2024 qualification in agonising fashion – and he has been backed by the Football Association of Wales.

Wales took major tournament regulars Poland all the way to penalties, with Robert Lewandowski’s side failing to get a shot on target in normal and extra-time, before Daniel James missed the crucial penalty in sudden death to consign Page’s side to defeat.

Page has a contract until the end of the 2026 World Cup and his boss at the Welsh FA expects him to see that deal out.

“The FAW can confirm that Rob Page is their manager for the forthcoming campaign in accordance with his contract,” FAW president Steve Williams told BBC Wales.

“Rob is the manager. His contract runs to the end of the World Cup and that is how we continue to work.”

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Sky Sports’ Geraint Hughes dissects the defeat to Poland as Wales missed out on qualification for Euro 2024.

After missing out on a third consecutive European Championships campaign, Page has said he wants to continue taking charge of the team through this “transition” period.

Page could not hide his disappointment at full-time
Page could not hide his disappointment at full-time

Asked if he wants to remain as Wales manager until the World Cup, Page replied: “Absolutely. With a team in transition and while we’re in a transition, we’re one kick away from qualifying.

“We’ve got games in June, Nations League in autumn and then a World Cup qualifying campaign. That’s my full focus: building what we’ve already started and the transition which we’re in at this moment in time.

“I just know I’ve got a great group of players, a great staff. We’re going on the right staff. And there are younger players to introduce into this group as well. So that’s my next aim.

“We haven’t got there this time. We have games in June so we can use it to bring in some of the younger players and build on what we’ve got here.

“Because they’ve said it in the changing room and they said it on the pitch: we’ve got a good group and we’re going places. And it’s nice to be around.”

Dan James reacts after seeing his penalty saved by Wojciech Szczesny
Dan James reacts after seeing his penalty saved by Wojciech Szczesny

Page admitted that going out in this manner “hurt” and was a “horrible, horrible experience” via defeat in their first ever penalty shootout – he is confident for the future of Welsh football.

“If we get our values right, with and without the ball, we will be a force to be reckoned with,” he said.

“They [Poland] are a good team and we made them look average. They didn’t have a shot on target.

“So we have earned the right to be here. We will be disappointed and we will build on it.”

Earnshaw: I don’t think Page should be under pressure

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A deflated Robert Earnshaw reflects on an intense game after Wales lost on penalties to Poland, ensuring they missed out on qualification for Euro 2024.

Former Wales striker Rob Earnshaw echoed Page’s sentiments that Wales are going places, putting his faith in Page as manager as he has “shown he can improve the players and the team”.

Asked what defeat to Poland will mean for the futures of Page and the Wales team, he told Sky Sports News: “It’s too early.

“For sure there will be an analysis and review on how the campaign has gone, how the second half of the campaign went compared to the first half.

“There was a lot of pressure on Rob Page in the first half of the campaign because no way could you see Wales getting even to a play-off, let along being in this position.

“They’ve been excellent for seven or eight games. It’s heartbreaking but I tell you what: it’s a good position Wales are in. It’s a good team. Aaron Ramsey the captain didn’t even [need to] come on.

Page left captain Aaron Ramsey (right) as an unused substitute

“I don’t think there should be pressure on him [Page]. He has shown he can improve the players and the team. They’ve played well, won games, and got to a play-off. They were literally a penalty away from a fourth tournament out of five.

“I think Rob Page will be devastated. But they have done very, very well. They do have a good team, matchwinners.

“They’re defensively very solid. It’s great that we have a 19-year-old in Jordan James and Ethan Ampadu are now finding their potentials. We have replaced the central midfield, that’s good. And we have goals going forward.

“But it’s just heartbreaking, heartbreaking that it’s penalties.”

What’s next for Wales?

Having missed out on a place at Euro 2024, Wales face only one more game between now and September, in the shape of a trip to Slovakia on June 9.

They then face Turkey on September 6 and Montenegro on September 9, when the Nations League gets under way.

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