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      Players who will benefit most from extra Euro 2020 squad spots

    Three Wales players who will benefit most from extra Euro 2020 squad spots

    A gruelling examination awaits Wales at Euro 2020, lined up as the unsuspecting underdogs in a Group A lineup that also includes Italy, Turkey and Switzerland.

    The level of competition means the Dragons could benefit from UEFA’s recent decision to increase the size of squads at the tournament more so than any other team in their pool. Rather than the usual 23 players permitted at the European Championship, national team coaches can name 26-man squads after a busy season following the coronavirus pandemic (via BBC Sport).

    Robert Page has been confirmed as Wales coach for the summer tournament, continuing in that capacity after Ryan Giggs received further charges in relation to assaulting two women.

    The manager will already have a good idea of who makes up his final Euro 2020 squad, but DragonSoccer.co.uk analyses several contenders around the squad who promise to benefit more from the increased allowance.

    Brennan Johnson
    One prospect who stands out from the crowd as a potential beneficiary of the added squad space is Nottingham Forest forward Brennan Johnson, who has lit up League One on loan at Lincoln City this season.

    Still only 19 years of age, Johnson has exploded at the senior level having made just four Championship appearances at his parent club last term. Granted, there’s a big void between England’s third tier and international football, but 12 goals and 13 assists in 43 professional appearances during his breakout season hints at the huge potential he boasts:


    Johnson’s only Wales caps to date were cameo appearances in friendlies against the United States and Mexico. However, it’s a big positive that management have included him in squads for the UEFA Nations League, as well as the 2022 World Cup qualifying win over the Czech Republic.

    Able to play on either flank, as a central forward or in advanced midfield, Johnson’s balanced contribution across Lincoln’s attack may yet lead to a place in Page’s plans this summer.

    Will Vaulks
    An almost constant starter in Cardiff City’s midfield this season, Will Vaulks is looking to play his way back into Wales’ senior setup almost one year after earning the most recent of his six caps.

    A lot has changed since the 27-year-old assisted Ben Woodburn for an injury-time winner in his Wales debut against Trinidad and Tobago in March 2019. Wirral-born Vaulks joined the Bluebirds to cement his Welsh allegiance later that year and has gone on to become something of a fan favourite.

    Competition in central midfield is strong, particularly if the likes of Aaron Ramsey and Joe Allen are fit. However, Vaulks offers a more robust defensive presence if one is required, as well as being capable of more deft touches in attack when needed:


    His only international start to date came when Wales lost 2-1 in Croatia during the Euro 2020 qualification trail, playing just three competitive minutes for his country since then (vs. Azerbaijan in November 2019).

    Tom Lockyer
    Chris Coleman was the man who handed Tom Lockyer his first caps as a Wales international, but Giggs was proving to be a big fan of the defender prior to his move away from the team.

    The same appeared to be the case for Page, although Lockyer’s Euro 2020 betting chances (according to bet365) were thrown into doubt after he was forced to undergo ankle surgery in February.

    Having not played since then, taking the centre-back with the squad might have proved a risk too far, but the extra squad allowance may mean he’s one worth taking as he nears a full recovery:


    With Ethan Ampadu looking likely to travel as a midfielder, Joe Rodon, Chris Mepham and James Lawrence appear to be Page’s primary choices at centre-back, with Ben Cabango the fourth pick. It’s still touch and go as to whether he’ll be fit, but the recent squad news gives Lockyer a lifeline in his hopes of being selected to provide some added security at the back.

    [ photos embedded from
    Twitter ]

    Posted: Wednesday 28th April 2021
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