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Bale named in Wales squad for World Cup play-off

Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey have both been named in the Wales squad for next week’s World Cup play-off against Austria despite limited game time for their clubs.

Captain Bale became the second Welshman to win 100 caps against Belarus in November, but his season has been severely disrupted by injury.

The 32-year-old has featured just twice for Real Madrid since the end of August, with his only start coming against Villarreal in La Liga last month.

Midfielder Ramsey, 31, has started just two games for Rangers since joining the Glasgow club on loan from Juventus in January.

The winner of the Wales-Austria match in Cardiff on March 24 will play either Scotland or Ukraine in September for a place at the 2022 World Cup finals in Qatar.

The other semi-final in Path A was postponed until June following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Wales manager Robert Page said Wednesday he had no fears over Bale and Ramsey as he announced a 26-man squad for the match against Austria and for a friendly against an unconfirmed opponent the following week.

“They’re big players for us and of course we want them playing games coming into camp,” he said.

“But the good thing is they’re both fit, raring to go and can’t wait to get on camp. The big players turn up for big games. They’ve proven that over time and done it time and time again.”

Wales, seeking to reach a World Cup finals for the first time since 1958, have lost Leicester goalkeeper Danny Ward to knee surgery, so Burnley veteran Wayne Hennessey is set to win his 99th cap against Austria.

Strikers Kieffer Moore and Tyler Roberts and defender James Lawrence are all absent with injuries.

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