Rob Page has defended Wales’ dismal record over the past 12 months by insisting his side are a team in transition.

Page signed a four-year contract in September but has come under increasing pressure after a dreadful run of one win in 11 games since qualifying for the 2022 World Cup.

Wales fans’ frustration came to a head in Friday’s shock 4-2 defeat to Armenia, opponents ranked 97th in the world, as hopes of qualifying for next summer’s Euro 2024 finals in Germany were seriously damaged.

“We had a group meeting (on Saturday) and addressed what needed to be said,” Page said ahead of Monday’s crunch qualifier against Turkey in Samsun.

“We’ve put it to bed and full focus is on the challenge here and we’ll all be ready for it.

“What I want is a reaction from the players, and that is in the performance. If they do that the result will take care of itself.

“We’re a team in progression, a team in transition, so we have to remind ourselves where on the journey we are.”

Wales supporters let their anger known at the final whistle on Friday as defeat allied to Turkey’s last-gasp 3-2 win in Latvia left them off two points off the Group D leaders.

Page said disappointment was heightened by expectation after Wales’ first World Cup for 64 years in Qatar and the poor run of results were partly down to the quality of opposition they had played.

“I think the reason it was such a low moment was because of expectations we put on ourselves, because of results we’ve had and performances we’ve had,” Page said of Wales’ first European Championship home qualifying defeat for 12 years.

“There is a stat about one win in 11 games, look at the opposition we’ve been playing.

“Look at the standard of teams in the Nations League.

“If we were playing England, Netherlands or Belgium six or seven years ago it might have been more than the close games we lost in the 95th minute.

“We showed our potential in March. We are still a young group so there are going to be inconsistencies.

“There are going to be bumps along the way. Friday was a massive bump, but now we stick together as a group.”

Skipper Aaron Ramsey insists Wales can turn their fortunes around with the Turkey clash representing the halfway point of the qualifying campaign.

“I believe in this team, I am confident,” said Ramsey.

“We have a good opportunity to get back on track and hopefully concentrate on performance and hopefully the rest will take care of itself.

“We are in a decent position. If we can take full advantage of tomorrow night we will be back in this group.”

Vice-captain Ben Davies has not travelled to Samsun as the Tottenham defender has stayed at home for the birth of his first child.

Kieffer Moore also misses out after being sent off in the closing stages against Armenia.

Ben Davies will not feature for Wales in their Euro 2024 qualifier against Turkey.

The Football Association of Wales announced the Tottenham defender has stayed at home for the birth of his first child.

Kieffer Moore is also absent for Rob Page’s side after being sent off during their humiliating 4-2 defeat to Armenia in Cardiff on Friday.

The forward is suspended having been sent off after tangling with goalkeeper Ognjen Chancharevich.

Goalkeeper Tom King will also miss Monday’s clash in Samsun as Wales look to recover from Friday’s shock loss.

Wales are back in Euro 2024 qualifying action away to Turkey on Monday.

Rob Page’s side are bidding to recover from their shock home defeat to Armenia on Friday against the Group D leaders.

Here, the PA news agency looks at the main talking points surrounding the crunch game in Samsun.

Page must strike right balance

This time last year Wales boss Page was basking in the glow of guiding Wales to their first World Cup for 64 years. How times have changed.

Wales have won only once in 11 games and Page’s tactics have come under intense scrutiny.

Reverting to three at the back and playing two holding midfielders in front of them might provide Wales with the solidity they have so woefully lacked over the past 12 months.

Counter-attack best form of defence

There is no Kieffer Moore after the Bournemouth targetman was sent off against Armenia to earn a ban.

Moore’s absence might actually work in Wales’ favour in this instance should Page bolster his defence and pack the midfield.

That could give Wales a strong base to release the pace of Brennan Johnson and Daniel James on the break.

Should Danny ward off Wayne?

Danny Ward’s miserable season suffered further indignity as four goals flashed past him in Armenia’s stunning Cardiff success.

Ward’s struggle for form at relegated Leicester saw him lose his place there towards the end of the season and his confidence levels must be a real concern for Page.

Wayne Hennessey is the obvious replacement but the 108-times capped veteran – sent off on his last appearance at the World Cup in Qatar – has spent most of the season warming the bench at Nottingham Forest.

Revenge or repeat?

The two nations have met seven times with Wales winning four games to Turkey’s two and one draw.

Their last meeting came two years ago as Aaron Ramsey and Connor Roberts scored in a 2-0 Wales victory at the delayed 2020 European Championship, securing qualification for the knockout stage at Turkey’s expense.

So Turkey have that extra motivation of avenging that Baku defeat in front of what is sure to be a volatile crowd at the Samsun 19 Mayis Stadium.

Balance of power

This contest has the appearance of a defining fixture to make next summer’s European Championship finals in Germany.

Wales’ promising start with four points from two games, which included a bonus draw away to group favourites Croatia, was blown apart by the Armenia defeat.

Turkey are now on the front foot after grabbing a stoppage-time winner to beat Latvia 3-2 on Friday, and victory would take them five points clear of Wales in a potential race behind Croatia for the second qualifying spot.

Connor Roberts hopes he can help ignite more favourable memories for Wales in their key Euro 2024 qualifier against Turkey.

Monday’s clash in Samsun has gained added significance following Wales’ shock 4-2 home defeat against Armenia that left them third in Pool D, two points behind Turkey.

While the group still has a long way to run, Wales’ automatic qualification hopes will be dealt another setback if they suffer a second successive loss.

Wales delivered, though, against Turkey at Euro 2020, with Burnley right-back Roberts scoring in a 2-0 victory in Baku.

“To jog the memory of what I did at the Euros will be brilliant,” Roberts said.

“But that is in the past and I have to create more memories as an individual and as a team.

“It is the goal when everything is said and done that I will probably look back on and think I can’t believe I achieved that or did that.

“They (Turkey) might be out for revenge, but whether they are or not we have to go there and stick to what we are good at.

“It has been a long time since then. I don’t really remember games I lost in the past.”

Roberts is back on the international stage after an outstanding season with Burnley that saw them clinch the Championship title and secure a Premier League return.

And Roberts has hailed the influence of Burnley boss Vincent Kompany, who recently signed a new five-year contract with the Clarets.

“I can’t express how good Vincent and his staff are. To know they are going to be there going forwards is brilliant because you learn so much from them,” he said.

“I thought I knew quite a lot about football, about how to play and what to do. But this season working with them, now I know a lot more.

“When I watch games now, almost the messages he portrays come into your head. You know what to do in every situation, from build-up to attack to defending in different parts of the pitch.

“I feel like 99 per cent of the time when the ball is on the pitch or at a set-piece I know what I am supposed to be doing. You know what you should be doing in every moment of the game.

“I watch Manchester City, and we aren’t them, but I see massive similarities in the way we are asked to play.

“We might not be able to do it as good as they can, but you do see similarities. I think Vincent will go and have that Man City job one day.”

David Brooks accepts that “people will be starting to doubt us” following Wales’ humiliating 4-2 Euro 2024 qualifying defeat against Armenia.

Wales would have gone top of Pool D had they beaten a team 71 places below them in the world rankings.

And life will not get any easier in terms of the battle for automatic qualification as Wales face an appointment with group leaders Turkey in Samsun on Monday.

“If we win that, we go back into a position of power,” Brooks said. “We all know that, and that is what we are going to be trying to do.

“We all know what we want to achieve – we want to get to the major tournaments. We have two days to kind of get over it and get back to work.

“I think people will be starting to doubt us, but we have got to go and try and put in a performance to prove all those people wrong.

“We all want to get to a major tournament, so nothing has changed.”

Wales’ first European Championship qualifying defeat at home since 2011 dropped them to third in the group as Turkey won 3-2 in Latvia.

Lucas Zelarayan and Grant-Leon Ranos both scored twice as Armenia secured one of the greatest victories in their football history.

And Welsh misery was completed by the dismissal of Kieffer Moore, who was adjudged to have committed foul play by Bulgarian referee Georgi Kabakov after tangling with goalkeeper Ognjen Chancharevich. He will miss the Turkey clash.

Brooks added: “Four goals at home isn’t good enough, I think we all know that, and we will be getting together and trying to figure out how to put that right in two days’ time.

“Bigger teams than us have done that to us, and we’ve caused upset results. It happens near enough every week in the Premier League, and we all knew that going into the game. They took their chances well.

“I’ve spoken to Kieffer. I don’t think he thinks he’s done a lot. They were kind of making a meal out of everything.

“Kieffer is a big part of what we want to do, so he is going to be a big miss for Turkey.”

Brooks’ return to the international arena was a highlight of an often chaotic night at Cardiff City Stadium.

He was diagnosed with stage-two Hodgkin lymphoma while on international duty in October 2021, and Brooks received a standing ovation when he went on as a second-half substitute.

“It was special,” he said. “It has been a long two years to finally put that Wales shirt back on.

“To get the reception that I did, especially when I came on – I could hear every single one of them (fans) – and I just want to say thank you.”

Rob Page suggested Wales’ Euro 2024 qualifying defeat to Armenia was a necessary “slap” as he surveyed the wreckage of one of the most humiliating losses in the nation’s football history.

Armenia ran out shock 4-2 winners in Cardiff, despite being ranked 97th in the world and 71 places lower than Wales.

Page’s side – who took four points from their March games away to Croatia and at home to Latvia – would have topped Group D with victory in Cardiff.

Instead a first European Championship qualifying defeat at home since 2011 dropped them to third in the group as Turkey won 3-2 in Latvia. Wales’ next qualifier is away to Turkey in Samsun on Monday.

“They fell well short of the standards they have set before,” said Page. “I didn’t see that coming. It has really shocked me.

“Everything happens for a reason, perhaps it’s the slap we need, a little bit of a reality check.

“Everybody is starry-eyed and getting carried away. Yes, we had a great start in March but there are no bad teams now anymore.

“Look at what Turkey had to do in the 96th minute against Latvia.”

Daniel James’ sixth international goal fired Wales into an early lead, but Armenia exploited some dreadful home defending to lead by the half-hour mark through Lucas Zelarayan and Grant-Leon Ranos.

Armenia extended their lead through Ranos before Harry Wilson reduced the deficit with 18 minutes to play.

Ranos hit the post before Zelarayan’s second killed off Wales and home misery was completed 12 minutes from time when Kieffer Moore was sent off for a kick on goalkeeper Ognjen Chancharevich.

Page confirmed that Wales would not appeal Moore’s red card and the Bournemouth striker will now miss the Turkey game.

“I felt such in a positive place before the game, full of confidence and I didn’t see that coming,” Page said.

“That’s really shocked me as much as anyone else.

“The fundamentals of what we stand for, what we represent, the hard work…we were too expansive and that’s not what we’re all about.

“We’re hard-working and we pride ourselves in doing the not-so-pretty side of it.

“They taught us a lesson in that, how to do the not-so-pretty side of the game.”

Victory was especially sweet for Armenia manager Oleksandr Petrakov, who was in charge of Ukraine for their World Cup play-off final defeat in Cardiff exactly 12 months ago.

Petrakov said: “We have a game in Latvia in three days so if we go on celebrating, this victory will not mean anything.

“It’s more or less the same Wales team apart from Gareth Bale so I can not under-estimate the valuation of my team.

“My only objective as Armenia coach is to is to qualify for a major tournament.”

Wales’ hopes of Euro 2024 qualification were seriously damaged by a humiliating 4-2 defeat to Armenia in Cardiff.

Lucas Zelarayan and Grant-Leon Ranos both scored twice as Armenia – ranked 97 in the world and 71 places lower than Wales – secured one of the greatest victories in their football history.

Daniel James had given Wales an early opener and Harry Wilson cut the deficit to 3-2 after Armenia had seized control, aided by some truly desperate home defending.

But Armenia responded in style and Welsh misery was completed by the dismissal of Kieffer Moore, who was adjudged to have committed foul play by Bulgarian referee Georgi Kabadov after tangling with goalkeeper Ognjen Chancharevich.

Moore will miss Monday’s trip to Turkey that now takes on extra significance for Wales after this setback.

It was a sweet success for Armenia coach Olesksandr Petrakov, 12 months on after his Ukraine side were beaten in a World Cup play-off final in Cardiff.

Wales had not lost in 12 home European Championship qualifiers – the last defeat being against England in March 2011 – but Armenia joined the likes of Belarus, Cyprus, Macedonia and Moldova in inflicting embarrassing defeats on them down the years.

Vice-captain Ben Davies and Brennan Johnson were welcomed back after missing the two qualifiers in March when Wales had picked up four points.

David Brooks was among the substitutes after rejoining the squad for the first time since being diagnosed with stage-two Hodgkin lymphoma in October 2021.

Wales applied early pressure with Connor Roberts’ long throws posing problems and Moore going close from one of them.

Moore had just headed wide when Johnson’s delicious 10th-minute cross set James up for a simple sixth Wales goal.

If the hosts thought that early breakthrough would deflate Armenia then they were in for a rude awakening.

Captain Eduard Spertsyan headed inches wide and Danny Ward had to stretch every sinew to hold Nair Tiknizyan’s cross at the second attempt.

But Ward had no chance when the rampaging Tiknizyan again centred from the left for Zelarayan to send a sweet volley past him.

It got worse for Wales as Joe Rodon lost possession in his own half and Spertsyan’s perfect ball arced over Chris Mepham for the unmarked Ranos to head home.

Tigran Barseghyan almost embarrassed Wales further, but – in a half when it appeared that a goal would arrive from every attack – the Armenia goal suddenly came under siege.

Moore sidefooted the ball traight at Chancharevich after Wilson had sprung the offside trap and Rodon’s header drifted the wrong side of a post from a Welsh perspective.

James drove wide after the restart, but Wales became increasingly stifled and frustrated by Armenia’s time-wasting tactics before Ranos supplied another unpleasant surprise with a wonderful finish.

Wales were back in it 18 minutes from time when Moore headed down at the far post and Wilson stabbed home from close range.

But Armenia responded again for Ranos to thump a post and be denied a hat-trick.

Wales failed to make the most of their good fortune as substitute Joe Morrell lost possession to Ugochukwu Iwu and Zelarayan smashed home his second.

Brooks came on for a late cameo to provide Wales with some cheer.

But Moore’s red card – that appeared harsh on first glance – confirmed Armenia’s first win in 10 games on a crazy night at Cardiff City Stadium.

Wales return to Euro 2024 qualifying action against Armenia in Cardiff on Friday.

Rob Page’s side began the campaign in March with a 1-1 draw in Croatia and a 1-0 home victory over Latvia.

Here, the PA news agency looks at the main talking points surrounding the Group D clash as Wales aim to build on that promising start.

Brooks is back

David Brooks would provide one of the most heart-warming stories of the season by returning to the international arena at the Cardiff City Stadium.

Brooks was diagnosed with stage-two Hodgkin lymphoma while on international duty in October 2021 and has rejoined the Wales squad for the first time since announcing he was cancer-free in May last year.

The 25-year-old attacker returned to action for Bournemouth in March and made his first start last month. Brooks has won 21 caps for Wales and played at Euro 2020 before his illness was diagnosed.

Same again, please

Duplicating March’s return of four points will do Wales just fine.

Taking a point from World Cup semi-finalists Croatia courtesy of Nathan Broadhead’s stoppage-time strike was a bonus that few – if anyone – predicted.

Beating Armenia and getting some reward against Turkey in Samsun on Monday would represent a huge step for Welsh ambitions of clinching a top-two spot and reaching the finals in Germany next summer.

Johnson boost

Wales’ March games were overshadowed by the absence of Brennan Johnson.

Boss Rob Page suggested Johnson’s club Nottingham Forest had not done enough to get the forward fit for international duty, a claim which Reds boss Steve Cooper subsequently denied.

Whatever the truth of that, Johnson had an impressive maiden top-flight campaign at the City Ground and his return to the Wales squad is a huge boost.

Managing post-season break

It will be nearly three weeks since the Premier League finished when Wales walk out to take on Armenia.

The regular EFL season ended even earlier on May 8 and several members of Page’s squad have not played since.

Page organised a Cardiff camp for his non top-flight players last month before taking the entire squad to Portugal to prepare for Armenia and Turkey, but it remains to be seen how match-fit they are heading into the two qualifiers.

Painful memories

Armenia and Wales have only met twice, in 2002 World Cup qualifying.

Both games were drawn, with John Hartson scoring twice in a 2-2 draw at Yerevan’s Republican Stadium in March 2001 after Armenia had been reduced to 10 men.

The return game the following September was Wales’ 500th match. But Wales failed to mark the occasion with a win as their World Cup qualification hopes disappeared with a goalless draw at the Millennium Stadium.

David Brooks does not want to be picked on sentiment on his return to the Wales stage.

Brooks is back in the Wales squad for Friday’s Euro 2024 qualifier at home to Armenia – the first time he has featured for the Dragons since October 2021 when he was diagnosed with stage-two Hodgkin lymphoma while on international duty.

The 25-year-old winger announced he was cancer-free in May last year and returned to club action for Bournemouth in March, starting the Cherries’ final two Premier League games.

Brooks signed a new four-year Bournemouth deal last August and says he must be chosen for Wales on merit.

“I was out of contract this year before I signed my new one,” Brooks said.

“Even before talks had kicked in I wanted to make it clear I wasn’t there for sympathy.

“I don’t want to be there if I’m not going to play or wasn’t in the plans.

“Once they saw me training and how I was determined to get back to, I did earn what I was given.

“It’s the same with Wales. I don’t just want to be called up to be a spare part. I’m working hard to get back in the Bournemouth XI and be starting for Wales as well.”

Brooks underwent chemotherapy treatment following his cancer diagnosis, the draining effects of which he has said left him with night sweats, weight loss and struggling to climb the stairs.

Now he is close to peak playing condition – “I probably need to change a bit of the fat to muscle” – and says that returning to the Wales camp where he was diagnosed was a “very nice feeling”.

Brooks said: “The first step after the treatment was to get back into the Bournemouth dressing room and be part of that.

“As soon as that was completed, to get back in the Wales set up was the aim. The lads have welcomed me with open arms.”

On meeting up with Wales’ chief medical officer, Jonathan Houghton, who detected that Brooks’ had cancer symptoms, Brooks said: “I do owe him a lot, he’s obviously done a lot for us. It’s always nice to see him.

“Whenever my mum and dad see him they burst out crying and give him a big hug. I can’t thank him enough.

“Getting that awful news drops and crushes your world, at that moment you hope it will get better and go back to normal at some point.”

Brooks won the last of his 21 Wales caps against Denmark at the delayed 2020 European Championship in June 2021.

His perspective on life might have changed in that time, with Brooks saying “he did not have a single care about football” when he was diagnosed “as I just wanted still be on Earth”.

But Brooks said: “I just love playing football and so as soon as I got the diagnosis, that was snatched away in the blink of an eye.

“But it’s not the end of the world if you don’t end up playing football. Football is not life or death, the main thing is being happy and healthy.

“My ambitions haven’t changed. I still want to try and get to the very top.

“The hunger and drive is the same for all the lads. We all have the same goal of reaching the Euros, the World Cup – that’s what everyone wants to play in.

“There’s a lot of new faces, people I’ve not met prior to this camp, and a lot of new staff.

“But the brief time I’ve worked with them over the past week, we’re all pushing in the same direction and trying to achieve the same goal.”

Female football supporters from Wales’ South Asian communities will watch the national team play for the first time on Friday through a new initiative designed to create a more diverse fan base.

The sold-out signs are set to go up for Wales’ Euro 2024 qualifier with Armenia at the Cardiff City Stadium with Rob Page’s side hoping to take another step towards next summer’s finals in Germany.

Among the 33,000-plus capacity crowd will be women benefiting from a partnership between Her Game Too Cymru, Amar Cymru – the group launched in 2020 to give the South Asian community a voice in the national team – and the Football Association of Wales.

Thirty tickets were made available to women from South Asian communities to attend the game. With the offer oversubscribed, fans that missed out have been invited to a Cardiff restaurant on Monday to watch Wales’ Euro qualifier in Turkey.

Roopa Vyas is a director of Her Game Too, the campaign group run by fans to raise awareness of sexism in sport, and has followed the Wales national team at home and abroad.

“We want to show the Red Wall is the friendliest fan base around,” said Caerphilly-born Vyas, who has a Ugandan father and an Indian mother.

“I have gone to games off my own back but I know the barriers that exist and it not easy for people from Muslim, Hindu, Bengali, Somali and other communities to do that.

“Amar Cymru is a progressive group that want to get female fans to games and they came to me as they knew I went to games and could shine a light on it.

“Hopefully we can go back to the FAW after the game and show them it was successful.”

Shazia Zahoor, born in Cardiff of Pakistani heritage, once played for Dinas Powys Ladies alongside current Wales captain Sophie Ingle and will be among fans experiencing her first international action on Friday.

“I’ve been a football fanatic since I was 13 and wanted to play but the culture did not encourage it,” said Zahoor, who will be joined at the Wales game by her sons Ibrahim, 11, and Zakariya, five.

“Even now I would feel uncomfortable talking to my father about playing football.

“I’m thrilled to be going to a Wales game and taking my two boys. It will be lovely to see other Asian women there because it really is breaking down barriers.”

The FAW want to create a more diverse fan base and has had mascots with South Asian heritage at home games and discussed establishing prayer rooms for fans at the Cardiff City Stadium.

Members of Amar Cymru – which translates to ‘My Wales’ and resonates with the South Indian, Bangladeshi and Punjabi communities – attended a Wales match for the first time in September 2021.

Jalal Goni, the organisation’s founder, says the landscape of Welsh football has changed even in that short time.

“When Amar Cymru started in lockdown it was pre-dominantly made up of males, but Wales being at the World Cup changed things,” said Goni.

“Females were saying how we can watch it and we had an event for the USA game at the World Cup that included arts and crafts and other things for the family as well as the football.

“The World Cup opened up the stadium experience for females. We know the older generation in our communities would not support females going to a male dominated event but we are breaking that stigma down.”

Goni, who will be part of a 10-strong Amar Cymru delegation in Turkey as the group attends a stand-alone Wales away fixture for the first time, added: “There is a lot riding on it.

“Female fans will be dressed differently in head scarves and cultural dresses and we hope there will be no negative comments.

“It is a massive step but the FAW have done a tremendous job in reshaping Welsh football, certainly since Euro 2016.

“Attending Wales games has become more of a family experience and we feel we are ready for this.”

Warren Gatland has revealed that he would not have returned for a second spell as Wales head coach had he known the full extent of Welsh rugby’s problems.

New Zealander Gatland led Wales to sustained success during his first spell in charge from 2008 to 2019, masterminding Six Nations titles, Grand Slams and two World Cup semi-final appearances.

He returned six months ago, replacing Wayne Pivac, although Wales delivered an underwhelming Six Nations campaign last season, recording a solitary victory.

Sexism and misogyny allegations within the Welsh Rugby Union are currently the subject of an independent review, Wales players threatened strike action amid contractual chaos ahead of facing Six Nations opponents England in February, while financial troubles continue to engulf the Welsh professional game.

“When I came into the Six Nations, I had no idea,” Gatland told the BBC’s Scrum V podcast.

“I didn’t realise a lot of the things that were going on and the issues that were behind rugby and the squad and the players.

“At the time if I had known, I would have made a different decision and probably gone somewhere else.

“Welsh rugby’s going to go through (more) pain from a financial perspective for the regions.

“These issues were here before, but there’s no doubt that the success of the national team in the past probably papered over the cracks.

“Now, probably for the better, they have come to the fore and there is a chance to focus on the things that needed fixing. There’s a great chance for us to have a really positive reset on a number of things.”

Ahead of the World Cup in France later this year, Gatland has seen Alun Wyn Jones, Justin Tipuric and Rhys Webb retire from Test rugby.

Prop Rhys Carre, meanwhile, was released from a 54-player training squad after he failed to hit individual performance targets, and lock Cory Hill withdrew to pursue a club contract opportunity outside of Wales.

The cumulative effect has to led Wales being written off by many pundits in terms of their World Cup hopes, but Gatland added: “What gives me an edge or a buzz is when the expectations aren’t there or the challenges appear to be greater. That drives me even more.

“It (being written off) is allowing us to come in under the radar, and there is nothing the Welsh boys love better than being written off and backs-to-the-wall. They tend to respond to that.”

Rob Page says Wrexham striker Paul Mullin will be considered for Wales selection if he scores regularly in League Two.

Liverpool-born Mullin qualifies for the Dragons through his Welsh-born grandmother and has said he would love to represent Wales on the international stage.

The 28-year-old has scored 78 goals in two seasons at Wrexham – helping the club owned by Hollywood actors Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds back into the English Football League – and won the 2022-23 FA Cup Golden Ball as the competition’s top scorer.

Mullin’s eligibility has been a big talking point among Wales supporters with many keen to see him given a senior call, but manager Page was reluctant to select someone plying his trade in the fifth tier of English football.

“Forget what he’s done up until now,” Page said ahead of Friday’s Euro 2024 qualifier against Armenia in Cardiff.

“If he is playing in League Two and he’s scoring goals, then we will look at him and consider him. But there is a massive gap from where he’s been up to League Two.

“We will keep monitoring him and if he keeps scoring goals as he goes up the levels he’ll prove himself.”

Mullin has already shone in League Two and won the division’s Golden Boot with a 32-goal season in Cambridge’s 2020–21 promotion campaign.

He enhanced his reputation further in the FA Cup this term with nine goals, three of which came against Championship pair Coventry and Sheffield United.

Page said: “I watched him against Sheffield United and I was very impressed by him, just from a work rate point of view.

“I wouldn’t want to play against him, he’s a pain in the backside.

“Forget his goalscoring and his eye for goal, I like him because he’s a pain to play against. He’s like a rat, and I want that.”

Page admits Wales need to sharpen their attacking play for games against Armenia and Turkey after collecting four points from their opening two Euro 2024 qualifiers in March.

Brennan Johnson and David Brooks have returned to the squad after missing the 1-1 draw in Croatia and the 1-0 home win over Latvia.

“While I was happy with the Latvia performance and how we controlled the game, that final detail at the top of the pitch is where we need to improve,” Page said.

“Having Brennan back fit, and Daniel James, Harry Wilson and David available is only going to help us achieve that.

“With the personnel we’ve got we can have two or three different formations without any problem.

“The game plan might change within a game, but having players like Brennan will give us the opportunity to get higher up the pitch and score more goals.

“We’ve got some good players and the problem now is finding out how to get them all into the same team.”

The Vitality Blast match between Surrey and Glamorgan at Sophia Gardens in Cardiff last Wednesday was a historic one for West Indian off-spinner, Sunil Narine.

While he ended up with relatively pedestrian figures of 1-34 off his four overs to help Surrey defend a mammoth 237, his dismissal of South African Colin Ingram for 11 was extremely significant.

With that dismissal, the 35-year-old Trinidadian became only the third man in history to reach 500 wickets in T20s, joining Afghanistan’s Rashid Khan, who has 555 and fellow Trinidadian, Dwayne Bravo, who leads the way by a mile with 615.

Narine made his T20 debut all the way back in 2011 when he represented Trinidad & Tobago against Hampshire in the Caribbean T20 at the Kensington Oval and has since gone on to represent a number of franchises in leagues across the globe, most notably helping the Kolkata Knight Riders to a pair of IPL titles in 2012 and 2014, taking over 20 wickets in each season.

In Surrey’s next game, which they also won, Narine was back to his best with figures of 3-12 in 2.5 overs.

In total, Narine has taken 503 wickets in 461 matches at an average of 21.01 including 12 four-wicket hauls and one five-wicket haul.

For the West Indies, Narine has taken 52 wickets in 51 matches at 21.25. His last T20 for the West Indies came against India at Providence in 2019.

 

Cory Hill has become the latest player to withdraw from Wales’ preliminary World Cup training squad.

The former Cardiff and Dragons lock, who had been playing in Japan, was recalled by Wales head coach Warren Gatland following two years out of Test rugby.

But 31-year-old Hill has pulled out of the squad to pursue a club contract opportunity outside of Wales, the Welsh Rugby Union said.

“I am gutted to be leaving the squad, but an opportunity has come up and I need to take it for my family,” Hill said.

“Wishing the boys all the best at the World Cup, and I hope to be back in a Wales jersey in the future.”

Gatland named a 54-man group last month for the tournament in France later this year.

Lock Alun Wyn Jones, flanker Justin Tipuric and scrum-half Rhys Webb, who have 291 Wales caps between them, subsequently announced their retirements from international rugby.

And Cardiff prop Rhys Carre was then released from the squad after he failed to meet individual performance targets.

The PA news agency understands that Gatland has no plans to call up a replacement for Hill, whose new club want him available for them during the World Cup period in September and October.

Hill made his Wales debut against Australia in 2016, while a 32nd and latest appearance came during the 2021 Six Nations against France.

Gatland’s remaining second-row options in his squad are Will Rowlands, Adam Beard, Dafydd Jenkins, Ben Carter, Rhys Davies, Teddy Williams and Christ Tshiunza.

Cardiff prop Rhys Carre has been released from Wales’ preliminary Rugby World Cup training squad after failing to meet individual performance targets.

The Welsh Rugby Union said in a statement: “Rhys Carre has been released from the Wales senior men’s preliminary training squad for Rugby World Cup 2023.

“Following ongoing discussions between the player and the Wales coaching team, Carre has failed to meet individual performance targets set at the end of the 2023 Guinness Six Nations.”

Carre was one of 10 props selected in the training squad alongside Nicky Smith, Corey Domachowski, Gareth Thomas, Kemsley Mathias, Tomas Francis, Dillon Lewis, Keiron Assiratti, Henry Thomas and Will Davies-King.

Domachowski, Mathias, Assiratti, Thomas and Davies-King are all uncapped, while Carre has made 20 Test match appearances.

His Wales debut came in 2019, and he was also part of the World Cup squad in Japan later that year.

Carre, 25, has become the fourth player to depart head coach Warren Gatland’s 54-man group that he announced last month.

Ospreys trio Alun Wyn Jones, Justin Tipuric and Rhys Webb all announced their international retirements ahead of the World Cup in France later this year after being named in the squad.

Wales play three World Cup warm-up games in August, with their tournament opener being against Fiji in Bordeaux on September 10.

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