Soccer

Brennan Johnson’s ‘safety and health’ a priority for Wales boss Rob Page

Brennan Johnson will miss Wales’ vital Euro 2024 qualifier against Croatia with a hamstring injury (Tim Goode/PA)
Brennan Johnson will miss Wales’ vital Euro 2024 qualifier against Croatia with a hamstring injury (Tim Goode/PA) Brennan Johnson will miss Wales’ vital Euro 2024 qualifier against Croatia with a hamstring injury (Tim Goode/PA)

Wales manager Rob Page has promised not to jeopardise the health of Brennan Johnson by telling him to turn up for international duty when carrying an injury.

Johnson will miss Wales’ crunch Euro 2024 qualifier against Croatia in Cardiff on October 15 after sustaining a hamstring injury on his first start for Tottenham against Arsenal in the north London derby.

Spurs boss Ange Postecoglou confirmed on Friday that Johnson will miss Tottenham’s Premier League trip to Luton this weekend but will be fit to return after the international break.

Page said: “The communication between us and Tottenham has been first-class. It’s about having mutual respect. Both managers want a talented player fit so it’s about working together.

Rob Page Press Conference – SToK Racecourse – Wednesday 4th October
Rob Page Press Conference – SToK Racecourse – Wednesday 4th October Wales manager Rob Page says the communication between them and Tottenham over Brennan Johnson has been ‘first-class’ (PA)

“I’m not going to insist that he has to come away and we’re going to play him, jeopardise his safety and health. I wouldn’t do that. But they also understand the importance of our games.”

Page criticised Johnson’s former club Nottingham Forest after he missed Wales’ Euro 2024 qualifier away to Croatia in March.

Page said at the time that he should have been “stronger” to ensure Johnson arrived on camp for Wales to make their own medical assessment of the 22-year-old forward.

Johnson has since joined Tottenham for £47.5million – the second highest transfer fee paid for a Welsh player after Gareth Bale – and is considered to be a hugely influential figure as Wales move forward in the post-Bale era.

On communicating with Tottenham over Johnson’s fitness situation, Page added: “We’ve had great conversations with them, but ultimately his injury will dictate whether he can meet up or not.”

Wales realistically need to avoid defeat against World Cup semi-finalists Croatia and win both games of their November double-header to secure automatic qualification for next summer’s Euro 2024 in Germany.

Captain Aaron Ramsey was not named in the squad for the Croatia game after damaging a knee tendon and has also been ruled out of November’s games against Armenia and Turkey by his Cardiff manager Erol Bulut.