Soccer

Wales would happily welcome Joe Allen back to squad for Euros – Ethan Ampadu

The 34-year-old called time on his international career in 2023 after winning 74 caps.

Joe Allen won 74 caps for Wales and played at three major tournaments for his country
Joe Allen Joe Allen won 74 caps for Wales and played at three major tournaments for his country (PA/PA)

Ethan Ampadu says Joe Allen would be welcomed back into the Wales fold should the midfielder come out of international retirement ahead of Euro 2024.

Wales are one win from reaching a third successive European Championship, and host Poland in a play-off final at Cardiff City Stadium on Tuesday with a place in Germany this summer at stake.

Allen called time on his distinguished Wales career in February 2023 after winning 74 caps and playing at three major tournaments.

Ethan Ampadu has emerged as Joe Allen’s natural successor in the Wales midfield
Wales v Finland – UEFA Euro 2024 Qualifying – Play Off – Cardiff City Stadium Ethan Ampadu has emerged as Joe Allen’s natural successor in the Wales midfield (David Davies/PA)

But the Swansea veteran said last week he would “never say no” to Rob Page if the Wales manager asked him to come out of international retirement for the Euros.

“I think if someone was to say no they’d be lying,” Ampadu said when asked if the Wales squad would welcome Allen’s return.

“That’s not really down to me, that’s down to the gaffer (Rob Page) and Joe.

“I know, I’m sure as you (media) all would, everyone would welcome him back.”

Allen, right, was named in the UEFA team of the tournament for his performances at Euro 2016
Wales v Slovakia – UEFA Euro 2016 – Group B – Stade de Bordeaux Allen, right, was named in the UEFA team of the tournament for his performances at Euro 2016 (Joe Giddens/PA)

Leeds captain Ampadu has emerged as Allen’s natural heir in the Wales midfield and won his 50th cap in the play-off semi-final victory over Finland on Thursday.

Allen was working as a pundit on the game for Welsh television but said last week he would make himself available for a potential Euro 2024 return, though he does not expect a call from Page.

“Of course if he asked me I would never say no,” Allen told BBC Sport Wales.

“But I’ve been saying lately I don’t think a phone call will come.

“There is so much strength in the team – the young players are doing a really good job – and if those guys get us through to Germany, I think they deserve the chance to play in Germany.”

Jordan James, left, has become a Wales midfield regular since Allen’s retirement
Wales v Finland – UEFA Euro 2024 Qualifying – Play Off – Cardiff City Stadium Jordan James, left, has become a Wales midfield regular since Allen’s retirement (David Davies/PA)

Allen turned 34 earlier this month and said when he retired from Wales duty “time and injuries take their toll” and that he was ready to “make way for our next generation”.

The former Liverpool midfielder has suffered an injury-hit season, starting only five games for Swansea in the Sky Bet Championship.

Page said last August he did not plan to ask Allen to reconsider his retirement decision because it was time to focus on the younger generation.

“There’s a plan ahead and the next thing for us is to get the young ones involved,” said Page.

“They’re young lads, they’re going to be the future of Welsh football.”

Birmingham’s Jordan James, who does not turn 20 until July, has become a midfield regular alongside Ampadu since Allen’s retirement and will win his 10th cap against Poland.