Rob Page has reiterated his determination to see his out contract as Wales manager amid mounting pressure on him to keep his job. Page, who has three years remaining on the deal he signed before the World Cup, said he cannot afford to be distracted by the growing discontent among supporters before Wales’s crunch Euro 2024 qualifier against Latvia. The Football Association of Wales has been reviewing Page’s position after a poor run of results.
Realistically, Wales must win in Riga on Monday to keep alive their hopes of automatic qualification from Group D. Latvia, ranked 134th in the world and are without a win in nine matches, are bottom after losing all four group games, including a 5-0 thrashing in Croatia on Friday. Wales have also struggled for form and won one of their past 13 matches, a 1-0 victory over Latvia in March in Cardiff. Asked whether he feels pressure to qualify, Page replied: “I can’t let that affect me. I can’t think about that, I’ve got a job to do. I want to qualify for me, as a Welsh supporter myself, as the manager. I want to be in this job for the rest of my contract. I really enjoy working with this group of players.
“We’re in an industry where you need to win games of football. We are in a transitional period as well. I can’t influence what the board above and what everybody else does. All I can worry about is trying to win games of football and giving it my best shot. If I do that and it don’t work out for me, at least I can walk away with head held high knowing that I’ve given it absolutely everything.”
The Wales captain, Aaron Ramsey, insisted the mood in the camp is upbeat despite defeats to Armenia and Turkey in June fostering concern among the fanbase. “We have a good chemistry here and everyone enjoys being away with Wales,” he said. “We know how much it means to everyone. Everyone is looking forward to this game. They’re a physical team, a direct team and it’s not always easy when you come off the back of a result, so we’re expecting a response. We’re going to have to stand up to that and show we can deal with it.”
The 19-year-old Birmingham midfielder Jordan James could retain his place after impressing on his full debut against South Korea on Thursday, in which the Ipswich winger Wes Burns sustained a hamstring injury. Burns, the Nottingham Forest goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey, who is also short of fitness, and the suspended Joe Morrell and Kieffer Moore have not travelled. The Leeds winger Daniel James was left out of the squad this camp because of an adductor injury.