Wales v Gibraltar: Youngsters set to feature in friendly, says Robert Page

Charlie Savage spent the second half of the 2022-23 season on loan at Forest Green RoversVenue: Stok Racecourse, Wrexham Date: Wednesday, 11 October Kick-off: 19:45 BSTCoverage: Live on BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, BBC Sounds, BBC Sport website and app, plus live textHighlights: Match of the Day Wales, BBC One Wales from 23:10 BST and later on demand

Boss Robert Page says Wales’ friendly against Gibraltar is the “perfect opportunity” to blood the latest crop of youngsters.

Charlie Savage and Owen Beck have earned first senior call-ups while uncapped Luke Harris is again included.

Page said all three, who are also in the Under-21 squad, would play against Gibraltar.

“I think it’s the time to introduce these youngsters and have a look,” he said.

Wales face Gibraltar in a friendly in Wrexham on Wednesday, 11 October before hosting Croatia in a Euro 2024 qualifier at Cardiff City Stadium four days later.

Page was previously Wales’ intermediate manager, in charge of the Under-21 side as well as the Under-17s and Under-19s, before becoming part of the senior side’s coaching team.

The former Sheffield United and Watford defender has always underlined the importance of the pathway available for players to progress from the youth teams into the senior squad.

“Some of these were in the younger age groups so I’ve worked with them, I know their potential and it’s lovely seeing them progress,” Page added.

“They’re showing a lot of potential and the benefits of training camps with our Under-21s is that we can stagger training and when our training is over we walk over and watch them train.

“If there’s any that we think that are ready for the next level then we’ll give them that opportunity to train with us.

“We’ve done it with a couple of players and every time they’ve stepped up and trained with us they’ve impressed.

“This for me is the perfect opportunity to show supporters what we’ve got coming through but for me to have closer look at them.

“We’re going to have three days working on grass with them and give them the opportunity to play a first team competitive game.”

Page was a Wales team-mate and room-mate of former Leicester City, Birmingham City and Blackburn Rovers midfielder Robbie Savage, whose son Charlie has been called up for the first time.

Savage junior, 20, has scored two goals in 12 appearances this season for Reading, whom he joined from Manchester United in a permanent four-year deal in July 2023.

“I spoke to Charlie about maybe having to get away from Man United if he wants to go an forge a career and play international football,” Page added.

“He can’t just keep playing Under-23s football. He’s taken my advice, gone to Reading and playing really well.

“Look at what Rob went through when he left Man United years ago to get a career for himself – going to Crewe – it’s no different to Charlie.

“He was on standby in September because we had Dylan [Levitt] out and had a couple of injuries in camp so this next game is perfect for him for us to have a closer look at him.”

Another player with a famous Welsh footballing family heritage is Beck.

Left-back Beck, 21, is on loan at Scottish Premiership side Dundee from Liverpool and is the great-nephew of Reds and Wales great Ian Rush.

Fulham midfielder Harris, 18, has been involved with the senior squad during the Euro 2024 qualifying campaign but is yet to make his debut.

Page says the time is now right for Harris to get game time, having featured only twice for his club in the Premier League so far this season.

“He was desperate to go out on loan and injuries at the club dictated he couldn’t leave,” Page said.

“The thing is with young players, they’ve got no clout to go and insist that they go and leave and play games.

“He got on had minutes against Man City, great for him, but his development long term he’s going to be a little but behind now.

“I just think this is the perfect game for him.”


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