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Rob Page adamant he will lead Wales into Euro 2024 play-offs

22 Nov 2023 3 minute read
Wales manager Rob Page. Photo Tim Goode/PA Wire.

Rob Page says he is “absolutely” the right man to lead Wales in the Euro 2024 play-offs despite his position being under review.

Page has already started planning for the March play-offs and will attend Thursday’s draw in Switzerland when Wales will learn the identity of their semi-final opponents.

Football Association of Wales chief executive Noel Mooney cast doubts over Page’s future last month by saying a “serious review” would take place after the final qualifiers “when everything will be settled”.

Asked after Tuesday’s 1-1 draw with Turkey whether he was confident of being the manager to lead Wales towards the Euros, Page gave an emphatic one-word response: “Absolutely.”

Planning

On the next few months, he added: “It’s about planning now. I’m off to the draw and we’ll have a staff meeting next week.

“I’ll get the coaches together, probably the week after. We’ll have a review of the camp, if I can say that.

“The planning starts and then I’ll be out watching players.”

Page signed a four-year contract in September 2022 which runs until the 2026 World Cup.

Wales eventually finished third in their Euro 2024 qualifying group after a roller-coaster campaign that saw them take four points from World Cup semi-finalists Croatia but only one off Armenia, ranked 95 in the world.

Turkey and Croatia claimed the two automatic qualifying places as Wales were once more left to contest the play-offs after successfully navigating them to reach the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Wales, who are unbeaten in six games, will welcome either Finland, Iceland or Ukraine to the Cardiff City Stadium on March 21 next year.

The winners of that tie will meet Poland or Estonia, with a draw held to determine who has home advantage in the final.

Transition

Page has constantly made the point during this campaign that Wales are in transition following the retirement of talismanic captain Gareth Bale and the loss of other key players such as Joe Allen.

It is unlikely the FAW hierarchy will change manager only four months before the play-offs, but failing to qualify for Euro 2024 would hit Welsh football hard financially.

Mooney said in October: “We’ll have a serious review after the Armenia and Turkey games when everything will be settled.

“We’ll know if we’ve achieved what we’ve set out to do, which is to qualify automatically.

“In a high-team performance environment with teams that have gone to World Cups and Euros over the last few years, we have to keep going forwards.

“The FAW is not like one of these football clubs which keep changing the manager all the time, knee-jerk stuff. That’s not us.

“But I caveat that by saying we have to keep winning football matches, we can’t keep losing matches. That’s very important. We’ve reached the top table in world football, we can’t go backwards.”

Page took over in an interim capacity from Ryan Giggs exactly three years ago and led Wales at the delayed 2020 European Championship, guiding them in to the round of 16.

He won promotion to the top tier of the Nations League and was appointed on a permanent basis in June 2022 after Wales had qualified for their first World Cup for 64 years.


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