Joe Allen has been included in Wales’ 26-man World Cup squad after proving his fitness for the tournament in Qatar.
Allen, with 72 caps, has been part of so many of Wales’ recent success stories, but a hamstring injury has kept him out of the fight for Swansea City since mid-September.
Head coach Rob Page has named the 32-year-old in his list of midfielders, with Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey both unsurprising, despite relatively little playing time this season.
Wales’ 26-man World Cup squad
goalkeepers: Wayne Hennessey (Nottingham Forest), Danny Ward (Leicester City), Adam Davies (Sheffield United).
Defenders: Ben Davies (Tottenham) Ben Cabango (Swansea City), Tom Lockyer (Luton Town), Joe Rodon (Rennes, loan from Tottenham), Chris Mepham (Bournemouth), Ethan Ampadu (Spezia, loan from Chelsea), Chris Gunter (AFC Wimbledon) ), Neco Williams (Nottingham Forest), Connor Roberts (Burnley).
Midfielders: Sorba Thomas (Huddersfield), Joe Allen (Swansea City), Matthew Smith (MK Dons), Dylan Levitt (Dundee Utd), Harry Wilson (Fulham), Joe Morrell (Portsmouth), Jonny Williams (Swindon Town), Aaron Ramsey (Nice ), Rubin Colwill (Cardiff City).
Ahead: Gareth Bale (Los Angeles FC), Kieffer Moore (Bournemouth), Mark Harris (Cardiff City), Brennan Johnson (Nottingham Forest), Dan James (Fulham, loaned from Leeds).
Bale played just 327 minutes for Los Angeles FC since his move to Major League Soccer in July, but he scored in the MLS Cup penalty shoot-out against the Philadelphia Union last weekend.
Ramsey scored on his debut for Nice in August but has made just six starts for the Ligue 1 club since then.
Elsewhere, Sheffield United goalkeeper Adam Davies has only received three caps, but has been re-instated as the third choice stopper behind Danny Ward and Wayne Hennessey in the delayed Euro 2020 Championships.
On defense, the hamstring injury that rules out Rhys Norrington-Davies has paved the way for Luton centre-back Tom Lockyer to join the tour group.
Rangers winger Rabbi Matondo is missing out as he has not scored in 17 appearances in Scotland since his summer transfer from Schalke.
Wales’ only previous appearance in the World Cup final was in Sweden in 1958, where they lost to Brazil in the quarter-finals.
Wales’ first game in Qatar will take place on Monday, November 21 against the US at 7pm UK time on the second day of the tournament at the Ahmed bin Ali Stadium in Al Rayyan.
The same venue will play Wales’ second group game against Iran on Friday 25 November at 10am, as well as the final group match against England on Tuesday 29 November at 7pm.
The knockout phase starts on Saturday, December 3.
Bowen: Bale’s presence gives Wales faith
Former Wales international Mark Bowen on Sky Sports News:
“The whole Welsh nation is very excited with two weeks away from the opening game. It has been a long time but there is a lot of quiet anticipation.
“It’s a culmination of the way Welsh football has gone in recent years since the famous Euro Expedition we had under Chris Coleman.
“There have been some quiet expectations over the years as we realized that we have potentially a good, young squad with a little bit of stardust that Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey give. We have match winners in the squad. The whole country is certain. behind them.
“Bale has the unique ability to be in the right place at the right time. He just needs a cameo appearance, that’s what the Welsh team gets from being on the pitch. It seems to give everyone an extra boost and faith just knowing that it’s a unique situation to have an iconic player in their midst that they can look forward to.
“I think we can have a lot of confidence. With World Cup groups you can’t be considered too favorite or second to qualify because tournament football is difficult.
“The first game against the US is an important game. Whatever happens, don’t get beat in that first one because you’re giving yourself a bit of a mountain to climb.
“Of course the big game is against England, but that’s the last one. It’s about making sure we get through the first two and get enough points to give ourselves a chance to continue in that last game.”
What is Wales’ possible route to the final?*
If Wales Group B wins…
Sunday 4 December – Last 16: Wales vs Ecuador (Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor; kick-off at 7 PM)
Saturday December 10 – Quarterfinals: Wales vs France (Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor; kick-off at 7 PM)
Wednesday December 14 – Semifinals: Wales vs Belgium (Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor; kick-off at 7 PM)
Sunday December 18 – Final: Wales vs Netherlands (Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail; kick-off at 3:00 PM)
If Wales finish second in Group B…
Saturday December 3 – Last 16: Netherlands vs Wales (Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan; kick-off 3:00 PM)
Friday December 9 – Quarterfinals: Wales vs Argentina (Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail; 7:00 PM)
Tuesday 13 December – Semifinals: Wales vs Brazil (Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail; kick-off 7:00 PM)
Sunday December 18 – Final: Wales vs France (Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail; kick-off at 3:00 PM)
*Based on the highest finish in the FIFA World Rankings and winning knockout matches