Wales squad announcement: Gareth Bale returns despite lack of game time with Real Madrid

Despite question marks over his fitness, Gareth Bale is part of Rob Page’s 28-man squad.

Wales will once again look to Gareth Bale to inspire them to victory. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Rob Page has named Gareth Bale in his 28-man squad for their final round of World Cup qualifiers.

Bale picked up a grade three hamstring injury and has been sidelined since mid-September, missing Wales’ last two matches.

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The 32-year-old has returned to training with Real Madrid, but has yet to play for his club since sustaining his injury.

Wales may have to adhere to the guidance of Madrid if they are to see him play in their two home qualifying matches against Belarus and Belgium, both at the Cardiff City Stadium.

Commenting on Bale, manager Page said: “He’s in a good place. He’s exactly where we and the medical team thought he should be.

“I spoke to him on Saturday and he’s raring to go. He’s back on the grass and doing absolutely everything possible to get himself 100 percent fit."

In the absence of Bale in the last camp, Juventus midfielder Aaron Ramsey made a welcome return to the fold.

The 30-year-old has played just six minutes of action since playing against Estonia last month and has been ruled out of tomorrow’s Champions League match.

"He’s learning as he’s getting into his 30s to manage his body, he can’t do what he did in his early 20s.

"He’s identified that there was quite a bit of muscle fatigue and he took himself out of it which is sensible.”

There is a recall for Cardiff City’s Will Vaulks, who was named as a replacement last month, but has now earned his place in the original squad.

His teammate Kieffer Moore is an obvious inclusion though he will miss the first match with Belarus after earning a suspension after picking up a second yellow card of the campaign in Estonia.

One player missing from the squad is winger David Brooks, who is undergoing cancer treatment after being diagnosed with stage two Hodgkin Lymphoma.

The Bournemouth midfielder will receive full support both from the medical team and from his teammates through his period away from football.

"He just didn’t look right in training, he wasn’t himself,” Page said when the FAW’s team decided to run tests on Brooks.

“I can’t speak highly enough of the medical team. Without that they wouldn’t have identified it as quickly as they did. "

“We’ll continue to support him through it, but the support he had that week and the work that they did was unbelievable."

Wales are all but guaranteed a playoff spot following their success in the Nations League in 2020, but are hoping to finish second to guarantee a home tie for the first-leg.

The play-off matches are due to be played in March and currently, Wales could play the likes of Russia, Serbia, Sweden, Scotland, Switzerland or the Czech Republic. After the group qualifiers are concluded, the draw will take place on Friday November 26.

Wales squad in full to face Belarus and Belgium:

Goalkeepers: Wayne Hennessey (Burnley), Danny Ward (Leicester City), Adam Davies (Stoke City)

Defenders: Chris Gunter (Charlton Athletic), Ben Davies (Tottenham Hotspur), Connor Roberts (Burnley), Chris Mepham (AFC Bournemouth), Joe Rodon (Tottenham Hotspur), Neco Williams (Liverpool), James Lawrence (FC St Pauli), Rhys Norrington-Davies (Sheffield United), Ben Cabango (Swansea City).

Midfielders: Aaron Ramsey (Juventus), Joe Allen (Stoke City), Ethan Ampadu (Venezia), Jonny Williams (Swindon Town), Harry Wilson (Fulham), Joe Morell (Portsmouth), Dylan Levitt (Dundee United), Will Vaulks (Cardiff City), Sorba Thomas (Huddersfield Town).

Forwards: Gareth Bale (Real Madrid), Dan James (Leeds United), Kiefer Moore (Cardiff City), Tyler Roberts (Leeds United), Brennan Johnson (Nottingham Forest), Rubin Colwill (Cardiff City), Mark Harris (Cardiff City)