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    Wrexham’s Paul Mullin in shock Wales standby call for Euro 2024 qualifier against Croatia

    PAUL MULLIN is on stand-by for Wales’ Euro 2024 qualifier with Croatia.The Wrexham striker, 28, has scored 78 goals in 97 games for the League Two outfit since joining in 2021.
    Wales boss Robert Page has a few striker issues which could open the door for Paul MullinCredit: EPA
    Mullin has been Wrexham’s talisman to return to the EFL under Hollywood owners Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenneyCredit: Getty
    But Wales are without Brennan Johnson, who has been ruled out with a hamstring injury.
    And there are concerns over the fitness of Millwall’s Tom Bradshaw, who also has a hamstring issue so Mullin could be in the mix for a debut call-up for the October 15 clash in Cardiff.

    Wales boss Robert Page, whose side also faces Gibraltar in a friendly next Wednesday, said: “Paul is on standby for the squad.
    “I watched Paul against Sheffield United last year, and Jack Lester – my coach, who was at Sheffield United at the time – sang his praises.
    “We’ve had a few conversations about Paul, so the next step is he’s now on standby and he’s one step away.
    “We monitor the Welsh players, and Paul is certainly one we’ve taken note of – and he deserves that. This is the next step of his development.”
    Mullin was born in Liverpool but qualifies for Wales through his grandmother.
    Johnson was due to be in the squad until Page received a late call on Tuesday night as the forward is set to miss Tottenham’s Premier League clash at Luton on Saturday.
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    Page added: “It’s not a serious one. But unfortunately the timing dictates this and so if he is not going to be right for Spurs then it’s not fair for us to pick him and try to play him.”
    Wales are without captain Aaron Ramsey due to a knee injury with Spurs defender Ben Davies set to lead the Dragons.
    Uncapped duo Charlie Savage, 20, and son of former Wales and Leicester midfielder Robbie and Owen Beck, 21, earn their first senior call-ups.
    Meanwhile, Wales fans have branded chief executive Noel Mooney a ‘p*** taker’ for trying to hike ticket prices for Euro 2024 qualifiers.
    The hard-up Dragons are looking to maximise every financial resource available to them.
    Football Association of Wales chief Mooney proposed a ticket price increase midway through the qualifying campaign.
    But Welsh fans represented at a Football Supporters’ Association meeting strongly opposed the idea due to the cost-of-living crisis plus a poor run of two wins in their 14 matches.
    Mooney backed down for now but the Irishman wants a price review ahead of a possible Euro 2024 play-off next March.
    The minutes from the meeting read: “A few people in the meeting expressed their disappointment and concern that any increase in the near future is even being considered, due to the current financial crisis.”
    Wales fan John McAllister tweeted: “Mooney and the FAW are taking the p*** here. Glad the FSA shut them down on it.
    “Raising prices mid tournament would’ve been an absolutely p*** take of fans who for the most part are struggling financially already.”
    Wales attracted a sparse crowd of just 13,668 – their lowest home attendance, Covid aside – in four years against South Korea last month with fans criticising the prices of £25 plus a £3 booking fee.
    Only yesterday did the Dragons put the sell-out signs on Wrexham’s Racecourse Ground for the October 11 friendly against Gibraltar.
    While the FAW have sold 26,000 tickets for the Euro 2024 home qualifier against Croatia four days later and expect a capacity crowd of 33,000 at the Cardiff City Stadium.
    Page’s Wales have been cutting costs in recent months and SunSport revealed players sharing hotel rooms and purse strings tightened on opposition analysis. 
    Wales squad
    Goalkeepers: Hennessey, Ward, A Davies
    Defenders: B Davies, Rodon, Lockyer, Mepham, Poole, Cabango, Williams, Beck, Roberts
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    Midfielders: Burns, Ampadu, Savage, J James, Levitt, Sheehan, D James, Broadhead, Wilson
    Forwards: Brooks, Cullen, Harris, Moore, Bradshaw. More

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    Wales captain Aaron Ramsey suffers injury blow and is major doubt for crunch Euro 2024 qualifier with Croatia

    AARON RAMSEY is to see a knee specialist amid fears the Wales captain could miss the crunch Euro 2024 qualifier with Croatia.The Cardiff midfielder, 32, faces a race against time to be fit for the October 15 clash in Cardiff after sustaining the ligament injury to his right knee in training this week.
    Aaron Ramsey is set to miss three weeks after picking up knee injuryCredit: Getty
    Ramsey scored from the spot in Wales’ 2-0 win in Latvia earlier this monthCredit: AP
    Ramsey’s Bluebirds manager Erol Bulut has ruled the ex-Arsenal star out for up to three weeks but club and country are now sweating on the results of scans to find out the extent of the injury.
    Ramsey posted on Instagram: “Absolutely gutted to say that last week I picked up an injury in training.
    “I will be seeking the specialist advice on next steps. I’m determined to get back and help the team as quickly as I can.”
    Ramsey has not played since Cardiff’s South Wales derby 2-0 victory over Swansea on September 16 when he scored the second goal from the penalty spot.
    Since then Rambo has missed league games against Coventry and Sunderland as well as Wednesday’s Carabao Cup defeat to Blackburn.
    Wales boss Robert Page names his squad next Wednesday in Wrexham for the showdown against Group D leaders Croatia.
    The Dragons also face Gibraltar in a North Wales friendly on October 11.
    Wales lie in fourth spot after five matches but trail the Croats, who have played one game less, by three points.
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    And losing Ramsey would represent a major blow as they bid for a top-two place to secure automatic qualification for Germany next year.
    Cardiff boss Bulut said: “Aaron picked up him the injury in training on Monday.
    “It is a ligament injury in the back of his right knee – the same knee on which he had an operation a few years ago.
    “The medical report says he won’t be available for three weeks.
    “We don’t know if it is a rupture, we are still awaiting the scans to see how serious it is. I hope that we can have him back after the international break.
    “We will miss him. We need a player like him who can keep hold of the ball and read the game.”
    Wales’ suffered back-to-back summer defeats to Armenia – a shock 4-2 home loss – and Turkey.
    The 2-0 win in Latvia threw Page’s side a lifeline with the Dragons now just three points behind second-placed Turkey and Armenia.
    The Football Association of Wales are in contact with the UK Foreign Office ahead of November’s qualifier in Armenia following conflict in the Nagorno-Karabakh region.
    The territory, which had been controlled by Armenians for three decades, was seized by Azerbaijan last week.
    Uefa are monitoring the situation with the tie due to be played in Yerevan – 171 miles from Nagorno-Karabakh.
    Meanwhile, Gareth Bale will join a Welsh delegation for the Euro 2028 announcement in Geneva on October 10.
    The UK and Ireland bid faces competition from Turkey. More

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    Wales boss Robert Page still smarting from humiliating 4-2 home Euro 2024 loss to Armenia

    ROBERT PAGE is still haunted by Wales’ humiliating Euro 2024 qualifying defeat to Armenia in June.The 4-2 summer home Cardiff loss has turned the heat up on Page’s future as the Dragons now face a huge mountain to climb to qualify for the finals in Germany.
    Wales boss Robert Page is under-pressure ahead of must-win Euro 2024 qualifierCredit: AFP
    Ethan Ampadu and Chris Mepham were left shell-shocked by ArmeniaCredit: Rex
    Page knows only a win in the Group D clash with Latvia in Riga on September 11 in Riga will erase those painful memories and keep their Euro dream alive.
    Page said: “It has been a long couple of months. You can’t address and deal with the things that weren’t right.
    “All the players went off on holiday and I had staff meetings and we went through the clips of the game and identified areas we need to address.
    “Armenia wasn’t acceptable and we deserve all the criticism in the world. I take full responsibility.
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    “We don’t want results like we had against Armenia and that’s the one that has haunted me. 
    “It is probably the first test I’ve had. Ever since taking over everything has been rosy.
    “We’ve had success, promotions, qualifications, and this is the first time that I’ve felt time dragging. 
    “I can’t wait and I’ll be putting a positive slant on things when they come into camp because there has been nothing but positivity over the last few years. 
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    “We’ve just had a bad month. The Armenia game is the one that will haunt us. We’ll address it on Sunday night when we meet up.”
    Page received a vote of confidence from Football Association of Wales chief executive Noel Mooney despite the shocking result but a section of fans want the 48-year-old out.
    The ex-Watford and Sheffield United centre-back added: “That was nice to hear.
    “But when I took on the job we knew it wasn’t going to happen overnight and we had to manage expectations. 
    “We’ve lost arguably one of the world’s best players in Gareth Bale and some big characters in Chris Gunter and Joe Allen – all significant losses. 
     “I’ve been in football long enough to know how nasty it can get out there on social media. I played until I was 35, so I understand what goes on.
    “I understand the frustration of the supporters but there was nobody more disappointed than me after the Armenia game. 
    “I don’t look at social media and I don’t read any articles from ex-players because it will inevitably cloud your judgement. 
    “When I went into the job at Port Vale after Micky Adams left, I won the first three or four games.
    “Fans were coming on to me and saying that it was the best football we’ve played. They were thanking me but I lost the next two games and it was all ‘get him out’.
    “Inevitably then you are going to be influenced by negativity, and I don’t need that in my life. I just want to remain focused on the job ahead of me and that is getting three points against Latvia. 
    “We’re probably back to where John Toshack was, trying to find the next group coming through, developing and evolving.
    “The remit is to get the next batch of kids through. It is a progression, we are evolving and we need to get caps for these players.
    “I’m going to stick by what I believe in and that’s getting the young players involved. We will give it our best shot. I need to pick a team to go and get us three points in Latvia and we are back on track. ”
    Wales have won just one match – the 1-0 home win over Latvia in March – in their last 12 internationals including a dismal show at last year’s World Cup.
    That has increased the pressure ahead of Thursday’s friendly against South Korea at the Cardiff City Stadium.
    Page said: “There is pressure in every game you play.
    “The reason we are under pressure is because of the expectations we have put on ourselves over the last couple of years and the standards we’ve set.
    “The games we’ve won and the competitions we’ve gone into – getting into the Euros, getting promotion into the Nations League A division and then the World Cup.
    “The one win in 12 is correct as a stat on paper but it frustrates me. 
    “Two games were against Belgium, Netherlands, Poland and we played USA, England and Iran at the World Cup. We have to have common sense looking at the fixtures.
    “We’ve got to appreciate that we’ve Wales. We have had some significant players retire.
    “If we are going to win games we have to manage expectations and defend like we did against Croatia and attack like we did against Latvia.
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    “I want to see a reaction. I want to see us defend. That’s our identity and our foundations.” More

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    Ex-Man City star Wayne Bridge ‘HATES’ Roberto Mancini, and blasts Italy manager for tactics saying players won the title

    FORMER England and Manchester City star Wayne Bridge says the Three Lions’ Euro 2020 defeat to Italy hurt him more than most – because he HATES Roberto Mancini.The 42-year-old moved to the Etihad in 2009 at the same time as the now Azzurri boss took charge of the Cityzens.
    Roberto Mancini guided Italy to Euro 2020 joy against EnglandCredit: Getty
    Former Cityzens defender Wayne Bridge says the defeat hurt him more than mostCredit: Getty
    After initially featuring regularly at left-back, he was soon out-of-favour and was shipped out to West Ham, Sunderland and then Brighton before he eventually left City permanently for Reading in 2013.
    Bridge, who won 36 caps for England, watched on with the rest of the nation as Mancini’s Italy were crowned European Championship winners after beating Gareth Southgate’s men in a penalty shootout.
    And he has admitted to bettingexpert’s The Big Stage that seeing his former manager lift the trophy left a bitter taste.
    Bridge said: “It really hurt me because I hate Mancini, everyone knows I have no love for him.
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    “I wouldn’t say he’s the worst I’ve had, but tactically he isn’t that great. What he did was good, which hurts to stay.
    “Not only was my family cheering for England, they were cheering that Mancini was losing, so it hurt us even more. I never really got him as a manager.
    “All credit to what he did at Manchester City when winning the league, so City fans will love him, but if you look at the players and the squad that he had, that’s what won it, not him as a manager.”
    Bridge added: “I fell out with him. I was there for a few months and we got on well but I didn’t enjoy training at all.
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    “We did team shape against mannequins and as a full-back we’re told ‘you’re going to pass it to him or to him, if you pass it there then run that way, if you pass it to him go that way,’ you’d have two options and that was it and playing against mannequins isn’t football.
    “[Craig] Bellamy was trying to ask a question ‘what happens if this happens in a game’, and Mancini would say ‘shut up, be quiet’ and in the end he sent him home and he wouldn’t have him back at training.
    “As a manager, I really don’t get it.”
    The ex-England star played under the Italian for four yearsCredit: News Group Newspapers Ltd
    Wayne Bridge pictured with his wife FrankieCredit: Instagram More

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    Germany’s top newspaper Bild begs Jurgen Klopp to QUIT Liverpool and take over national side as Hansi Flick slammed

    GERMANY’S top newspaper have called on Jurgen Klopp to QUIT Liverpool.Because they want him to take over from Hansi Flick as the German national team boss.
    Bild want Jurgen Klopp to take over as Germany national team bossCredit: PA
    Flick is feeling the heat from the country’s public, fans and media following a torrid run of form.
    Since getting dumped out of the World Cup in the group stages, Germany have won just ONE of their five matches.
    That was a 2-0 win over Peru in March followed by a 3-2 defeat to Belgium.
    During the recent international fixtures, they drew 3-3 with Ukraine then lost 1-0 to Poland and 2-0 to Colombia.
    That took Flick’s dire record to three wins in his last 11 and 12 in 24 overall since replacing his World Cup-winning predecessor Joachim Low.
    And it prompted Bild’s sports editor to put out an emergency call for Klopp to rescue the DFB-Team – a year before they host Euro 2024.
    Matthias Bruegelmann begged sporting director Rodi Voller to ensure ex-Bayern boss Flick is replaced before the next international break in September.
    He said: “The DFB must immediately deal with national coach alternatives – anything else would be negligent!
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    “The premium solution: Jurgen Klopp!
    “The DFB has to fight for him with all its might. Klopp would put Germany in Euros euphoria from now on.
    “His popularity would help create a mood swing.”
    The newspaper suggests Klopp was proposed as an option after the Qatar 2022 debacle but he “felt it was his duty” to help Liverpool through their struggling campaign.
    The German, 56, is the longest-serving manager in the Premier League, taking over at Anfield way back in October 2015.
    In his seven-and-a-half seasons, Klopp has won the Premier League, FA Cup, League Cup, Champions League, Super Cup and Club World Cup.
    But after a disappointing campaign last season, Bild believe now is the chance to land him – Klopp himself admitted “it’s not out of the question” – and get Flick out to prevent an embarrassment in their home Euros.
    Bruegelmann added in a blistering attack: “Bankruptcies against Belgium, Poland and Colombia followed. The trend is as clear as it is frightening and would have already cost the club coach of a top team their job.
    Flick mostly does the opposite of the logicalMatthias Bruegelmann, Bild
    “They have only won four of the last 16 games and only kept two clean sheets. Against Oman and Peru – our footballing par in 2023.
    “Totally puzzling what’s going on in Flick’s head. There is no discernible plan.
    “Apparently, he thinks he knows everything better because he won six historic titles with Bayern in his first season – incidentally only the championship in his second season.
    “He mostly does the opposite of the logical.
    “EVERYBODY sees we need a No9. EVERYONE sees that we need filling jugs. Just not Flick.
    “EVERYBODY sees that we can’t back three. Just not Flick.
    “EVERYONE sees that the team needs security and that an eleven has to get used to it. Just not Flick.
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    “Instead, experiments, experiments, experiments that we can’t even afford! It’s unbelievable how we’re driving the Euro 2024 at full throttle against the wall.
    “If the coach doesn’t take the games seriously, the fans should at least get free entry.”
    Hansi Flick is feeling the heat ahead of hosting Euro 2024Credit: EPA More

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    England fan ‘chased out of bar in Malta by machete-wielding bouncer after refusing to put shirt on’

    AN ENGLAND fan was reportedly chased out of a bar in Malta by a machete-wielding bouncer.Three Lions supporters headed to Malta in their thousands for Friday’s Euro 2024 qualifier.
    England fans (not the one chased by the bouncer) lap up the sun in MaltaCredit: PA
    And one of the 4,000-plus seemingly had a fortunate escape after a terrifying incident.
    As reported by The Times, the topless England fan was asked to put his shirt back on in the bar.
    But when he allegedly refused, it is said that a bouncer came over and pulled out a large machete then chased the supporter out into the street.
    The report insists the supporter was unhurt but understandably shaken up.
    Incredibly, though, there was barely any reaction from the bar staff or the locals in Ta’ Qali.
    On the pitch at the national stadium, an own goal then strikes by Trent Alexander-Arnold, Harry Kane and Callum Wilson secured a comfortable 4-0 win for Gareth Southgate’s side.
    That took England on to a perfect nine points from three games following wins over Italy and Ukraine.
    The Three Lions host North Macedonia at Old Trafford tonight as the long 2022-23 season finally wraps up.
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    It is the first time the two nations have faced off since October 2006 when Steve McClaren’s side could only manage a 0-0 draw.
    And the country are no strangers to a shock after dumping Italy out in the World Cup play-off ahead of Qatar 2022.
    Southgate could introduce some of Manchester City’s Treble winners into the starting XI after they all were named among the substitutes on Friday.
    Alexander-Arnold will be hoping he can continue to shine in his midfield role while Kane is eyeing a record-extending 57th goal.
    Supporters headed out to Malta in their thousands to cheer on the Three LionsCredit: PA More

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    Wales skipper Aaron Ramsey says forget Armenia shocker ahead of crunch Euro 2024 qualifier in Turkey

    AARON RAMSEY has called for unity as Wales try to dig themselves out of Euro 2024 trouble.Friday’s shambolic 4-2 defeat to Armenia was greeted with boos from Dragons fans as the pressure increases on under-fire boss Robert Page ahead of tonight’s qualifier in Turkey.
    Aaron Ramsey urges Wales to stick together as they bid to bounce back from Armenia shocker which included a red card for striker Kieffer Moore in TurkeyCredit: Rex
    Wales’ players were left shell-shocked by the embarrassing 4-2 home loss to Armenia last FridayCredit: Rex
    The embarrassing home loss was a major blow to Wales’ hopes of qualifying for the finals in Germany next year.
    And it triggered a team meeting on Saturday in a bid to address the crisis.
    Page’s lads lie third in Group D behind the Turks and Croatia.
    Captain Ramsey said: “Everybody is disappointed.
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    “The boys have been low but there’s a chance for us to make things right. It’s about how we respond.
    “We have to stick together as a team and nation. We have to work hard and believe in each other that we can go on and qualify and get to Germany. That’s the goal.
    “We don’t need any outside noise or negativity. We all need to be on the same page. If we do, we will get there.”
    Page’s tactics came under scrutiny as the humiliation against a side ranked 71 places below in 97th exposed defensive vulnerability and big holes in midfield – both weaknesses at last year’s World Cup.
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    Nice midfielder Ramsey, 32, called Friday’s shock defeat in Cardiff ‘naive’ and is desperate for his team-mates to learn from their mistakes in Samsun.
    Ramsey added: “We realised what we did wrong. The distances were too big. We need to be more compact.
    “It’s not just the midfield. Everyone has to take responsibility for that, whether it’s the back line or the front line dropping off. It’s up to the players to do that.
    “Hopefully we can show we can learn and become a better team from it. We want to show what we’re capable of and make the nation proud.”
    Page branded the Armenia defeat ‘a bump in the road’ but defended his side’s woeful record of just one win in their last 11 matches.
    Page said: “Look at the opposition we’ve been playing. If we were playing England, Holland or Belgium six or seven years ago it might have been more than the close defeats in the 95th minute.
    “We’re a team in transition so we have to put our foot on the ball and remind ourselves where on the journey we are.
    “We’re still a young group and there’s going to be inconsistencies and bumps in the road. Friday was a massive bump. We’re not turning now.
    “We had a group meeting and addressed what needed to be said.
    “We have to get both sides of the game spot on because if we don’t then we run the risk of results and performances like Friday.

    “I want a positive reaction from the players and that’s in the level of the performance. If we don’t win then I want a performance that gives the supporters something to be proud of.”
    Wales are without striker Kieffer Moore, who is banned following his red card for an off-the-ball clash with Armenia’s keeper Ognjen Chancharevich.And Spurs defender Ben Davies did not travel to Turkey due to thebirth of his first child. More

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    Jude Bellingham ‘set to miss England’s Euro 2024 qualifiers over fears he needs surgery’ in huge blow

    JUDE BELLINGHAM is reportedly set to miss England’s Euro 2024 qualifiers amid fears he needs surgery.The midfielder, 19, has developed into a key man for Gareth Southgate as the beating heart of the Three Lions’ starting XI.
    Jude Bellingham is set to undergo knee surgery and miss England’s Euro 2024 qualifiersCredit: Getty
    And he would surely have started June’s games against Malta and North Macedonia.
    However, as reported by the Daily Mail, Bellingham may go under the knife in the off-season to try and fix a knee problem which has seen it strapped up in recent weeks.
    The Bundesliga player of the year missed Borussia Dortmund’s season finale at home to Mainz.
    He acted as water boy on the sidelines as he watched the 2-2 draw helplessly unable to impact the game while Bayern Munich scored a last-gasp winner to be crowned champions.
    Manager Edin Terzic said: “He didn’t feel well before the game. He told us he didn’t feel ready to start and if we needed him, we could put him on for a couple of minutes. He was very sad and emotional but I’m quite sure he’s a winner.
    “He’ll win so many trophies in his career and, for that, he needs to stay fit and healthy and recover as quickly as possible.”
    England are set to meet up at St George’s on the weekend of June 10-11, when the Manchester City stars will be in Istanbul for the Champions League final.
    However, it is understood Bellingham will withdraw from the squad before then, which could be good news for fellow midfielder Eberechi Eze who earned his first senior call-up.
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    And that means the next time Bellingham plays a match it could be for Real Madrid.
    Los Blancos are on the verge of completing a transfer – although Dortmund are desperately holding out for £130million.
    The deal would include £105m up front with £25m in add-ons and is a huge increase on the £30m Dortmund paid Birmingham three years ago.
    Bellingham’s father Mark has been involved in the negotiations with Real Madrid, who first made contact two years ago.
    The 19-year-old has favoured a move to Spain rather than Manchester City or even Liverpool, who withdrew because they could not afford him.
    Bellingham’s contract could be six years long and would become one of the top earners at the Bernabeu.
    Bellingham acted as water boy for Dortmund’s 2-2 draw with MainzCredit: Getty More