Wales midfielder Joe Allen is “fit and raring to go” ahead of the match against Iran on Friday, manager Rob Page has confirmed.
Allen, an imperative player for Wales over the course of his senior career, has been struggling for a number of months with a hamstring injury and was a doubt coming into the tournament. He was named in the squad for the World Cup in Qatar but was not used in their opening 1-1 draw with the United States.
Though Page did not confirm he would start their next Group B game, he revealed Allen is back in the mix and likely to feature in his pre-match press conference on Thursday.
“We’ve got a few tired bodies. We had a few go down with cramp (vs USA). Joe Allen got through his fitness test. He’s fit and raring to go and we’ve got a decision to make on that. Everybody else is fighting fit.”
Wales struggled in midfield against USMNT, especially in the first half, with Allen’s energy and tenacity obviously missed as the team were overrun for the first 45. Page went on to discuss just how Allen found his way back to condition to play.
“The medical team have been exceptional with him, they’re the reason why he’s fit. We were all concerned about him because of the extent of the injury and he kept breaking down – so he had to meet targets along the way.
“They’ve met every target and last week they pushed him to 100%, and it was a gamble. If he’d have broken down, he’d have been completely out of the tournament.
“We could have pushed him sooner to push him for the USA game, but I decided against that because when we look at the group and the confidence we have to get out of the group, I want to keep him for the long term.
On whether he can play for 90 minutes, Page added: “That’s something we’ll have to discuss with the medical team, but he’s fit and raring to go.”
Wales play Iran in Friday’s opening World Cup match.