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Rob Page needs a result – Wales v Slovakia talking points

Rob Page’s side will not play at Euro 2024 (Martin Rickett/PA)
Rob Page’s side will not play at Euro 2024 (Martin Rickett/PA)

Wales meet Euro 2024-bound Slovakia in a friendly at the Anton Malatinsky Stadium in Trnava on Sunday night.

Here the PA news agency looks at the key talking points ahead of the fixture.

Page in firing line

Wales Squad Announcement – Urdd Eisteddfod – Wednesday May 29th
Rob Page was rounded on by Wales fans after Thursday’s goalless draw against Gibraltar (Nick Potts/PA)

Wales manager Rob Page had to run the gauntlet of angry fans following Thursday’s goalless draw against Gibraltar, opponents ranked 203 out of 210 teams in world football. Page was jeered at the final whistle with calls for him to quit, and the 49-year-old has been pilloried on social media. Page was backed by Football Association of Wales bosses after the Euro 2024 play-off final defeat to Poland on penalties in March. He has two years left on his contract, but a positive result in Slovakia would do him no harm ahead of Nations League games in September.

Young Dragons

Wales v Lithuania – UEFA Euro U21 Championship – Qualifying – Group I – Rodney Parade
Liverpool striker Lewis Koumas almost scored on his Wales debut against Gibraltar (David Davies/PA)

Wales’ starting line-up against Gibraltar had a combined total of only 44 caps as Page blooded several youngsters on the international scene. Five players made debuts and, with so many senior figures unavailable for the two June friendlies, some of them could get another opportunity in Slovakia. Liverpool striker Lewis Koumas came off the bench on Thursday to win his first cap and the 18-year-old almost got on the scoresheet within minutes. Coventry left-back Jay Dasilva was another to impress and will hope to get more minutes.

Armband for Ampadu

Wales Press Conference – St. Fagans National Museum of History – Monday 18th March
Ethan Ampadu is set to captain Wales for the first time against Slovakia on Sunday (Ben Birchall/PA)

Ethan Ampadu is expected to lead Wales with Aaron Ramsey, Ben Davies and Joe Rodon all sidelined by injury. Ampadu did not feature against Gibraltar with Slovakia in mind and his return alongside Jordan James in midfield provides a huge boost for Wales. The 23-year-old already has 51 caps to his name and has shown his leadership skills by wearing the armband at Leeds this season. It will not be the last time Ampadu captains his country.

Moore of the same?

Slovakia v Wales – UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifying – Group E – Anton Malatinsky Stadium
Kieffer Moore celebrates after scoring against Slovakia in October 2019 (Tim Goode/PA)

Kieffer Moore has good reason to recall the Anton Malatinsky Stadium. Moore marked his first competitive appearance for Wales in October 2019 by scoring in a European Championship qualifier at Trnava. The game finished 1-1 and the Bournemouth striker’s header was instrumental to Wales qualifying for Euro 2020. Moore was held back against Gibraltar until the final half-hour and his presence will be important as Wales seek to end their season on a high.

Happy memories

Wales v Slovakia – UEFA Euro 2016 – Group B – Stade de Bordeaux
Gareth Bale scored a famous goal for Wales against Slovakia at Euro 2016 (Joe Giddens/PA)

Playing Slovakia brings back great memories for Wales fans: a sun-kissed afternoon in Bordeaux and the start of an extraordinary Euro 2016 journey in France. Gareth Bale’s swerving free-kick and Hal Robson-Kanu’s late winner saw Wales home 2-1 as Chris Coleman’s side began their run to the semi-finals. Should Wales be seeking more inspiration on Sunday they can take heart from their record against Slovakia. Wales have won three of the five fixtures, with Slovakia’s solitary success coming in the maiden 2006 meeting.