Rob Page confident Wales heading in right direction despite Euro 2024 heartbreak

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Rob Page believes Wales possess a bright future and are “going places” despite Euro 2024 play-off heartbreak.

Wales missed out on a third successive European Championship as Poland won 5-4 on penalties at Cardiff City Stadium on Tuesday following a goalless 120 minutes.

But boss Page insists Wales’ young squad are heading in the right direction ahead of 2026 World Cup qualifying.

“I just know I’ve got a good group players, great staff, and we’re going on the right path,” said Page, who has over two years left on his contract.

“There are younger players to be introduced as well, so that’s my next aim.

“We haven’t got there this time, but with the games in June we can start to introduce a couple of the younger players and build on what we’ve got here.

“We’re a good group and we’re going places.

“We have learned lessons, I’ve learned lessons from the campaign overall from the first game in Croatia.

“If we get our values right, with or without the ball, we’re a force to be reckoned with.

“We’re disappointed but we’ll build on it.”

Page insisted after the agony of Daniel James’ missed spot-kick that he is the right man to take Wales forward.

If we get our values right, with or without the ball, we’re a force to be reckoned with

Rob Page

Football Association of Wales chief executive Noel Mooney put Page’s future in the spotlight in October by saying the manager’s position would be reviewed, having not qualified for Euro 2024 automatically.

Page and Mooney held clear-the-air talks after those comments – but the FAW will conduct a review into the Euro 2024 campaign over the coming weeks.

Wales will return to friendly action this summer with a planned home game before heading to Slovakia on June 9.

“We’ve got games in June, Nations League in the autumn, and then the start of a World Cup qualifying campaign,” Page said.

“So that’s my full focus now, building on what we’ve already started and the transition we’re in at this time.

“Expectations go up because of the success we’ve had. Qualification for a Euros, then a World Cup, now we’ve been one penalty kick from another Euros without all the senior players we’ve had.

“We’ll continue to add youth and competition for places, the supporters buy into that. They see what we’re trying to do.”

Jordan James was a huge success story during the Euro 2024 campaign in forming a strong midfield partnership with Ethan Ampadu.

The Birmingham midfielder does not turn 20 until July and already has 10 caps to his name.

Striker Lewis Koumas seems certain to be the next teenager to be introduced to the senior ranks after scoring debuts for both Liverpool and Wales Under-21s over the last month.

Page said: “JJ will have learned a lot from that experience, that will hold him in good stead and make him bigger and better in the future.

“He’ll be another Ethan Ampadu with cap accumulation. 50-odd by the time he’s 23, no doubt.

“The age of the group is different to what we’ve had before. They are a hungry group.

“I’m keen to get as many of those young players as possible, but it’s got to be done in the right way.”

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