Former Celtic midfielder Joe Ledley wins Wales fitness fight

Wales' Joe Ledley has recovered from a leg fracture. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Wales' Joe Ledley has recovered from a leg fracture. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

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Former Celtic midfielder Joe Ledley has won his fitness fight to make Wales’ Euro 2016 squad.

The Crystal Palace player fractured his left leg on May 7, but Wales manager Chris Coleman named Ledley in his 23-man squad on Tuesday.

Ledley stepped up his fitness during Wales’ five-day training camp in Portugal last week and convinced Coleman and his medical staff that he will be fit before the end of the group stages in France.

Coleman had said the 29-year-old had to prove his fitness before the final group game against Russia in Toulouse on June 20 to be included.

“Joe looks very good,” said Coleman, who said Ledley could even make the June 11 opener against Slovakia.

“He trained on the grass in Portugal, albeit with the medical team, but he played a huge part in the campaign and is a big part of this team.

“The work he has put in is incredible and he looks good.

“With the injury he has had he is ahead of his work in his rehab.

“We will assess him and we will know more in the next week.

“But at the moment I think he has a good chance of playing against Slovakia.”

Wales will face England, Slovakia and Russia in Group B at the Euros and there were few surprises in a squad containing Gareth Bale, Aaron Ramsey and skipper Ashley Williams.

Paul Dummett and Adam Matthews were omitted as Coleman opted for only seven defenders, and Emyr Huws lost out on a midfield place in a three-way battle to David Vaughan and Dave Edwards.

Simon Church, who spent the second half of last season on loan at Aberdeen, is included.

Bale handed Wales a fitness scare during Real Madrid’s Champions League final victory in Milan on Saturday night when he spent the entire period of extra time barely able to move.

But it was no more than a bout of severe cramp and Bale was due to join his team-mates at their Vale of Glamorgan base on Tuesday evening.

“We watched the game and he looked fantastic,” said Coleman.

“He was limping a bit, but he is great physically.

“It’s all positive for us because Gareth will be in a good frame of mind and we’re looking forward to having him with us.

“We have to get to Gareth’s level as best as we can, we’ve got some top players like Rambo (Ramsey), Ashley Williams and Joe Allen but we’ve got good players behind them.

“This is the next challenge for us, for Gareth as well, because what we’ve done getting there has gone.”

WALES SQUAD

GOALKEEPERS

WAYNE HENNESSEY (Crystal Palace, 24/01/87, 56 caps, 0 goals)

Undisputed number one goalkeeper who is an imposing presence at 6ft 6in and has had a decent Premier League season at Palace.

DANNY WARD (Liverpool, 22/06/93, 1 cap, 0 goals)

Liverpool understudy has taken over the number two spot in goal after making his debut against Northern Ireland in March.

OWAIN FON WILLIAMS (Inverness, 17/03/87, 1 cap, 0 goals)

Been around the squad for years, but the goalkeeper only made his debut against Holland last November.

DEFENDERS

CHRIS GUNTER (Reading, 21/07/89, 66 caps, 0 goals)

Reliable at right-back or as part of a three-man central defence and on course to become the first Welshman to win 100 caps.

ASHLEY WILLIAMS (Swansea, 28/08/84, 58 caps, 1 goal)

Huge presence at the back and on the team with his leadership skills playing a crucial part in Wales’ Euro 2016 qualification.

JAMES CHESTER (West Brom, 23/01/89, 10 caps, 0 goals)

Slotted in well since making his debut in June 2014 and finally established himself at West Brom to get pre-Euro 2016 action.

JAMES COLLINS (West Ham, 23/03/83, 45 caps, 3 goals)

Sound season at West Ham before picking up injuries and adds vital experience to the Wales back-line when called upon.

BEN DAVIES (Tottenham, 24/04/93, 19 caps, 0 goals)

Struggled to depose Danny Rose at Spurs but provides versatility for Wales either on the left side of a three-man defence or at left-back.

NEIL TAYLOR (Swansea, 07/02/89, 27 caps, 0 goals)

The Swansea regular is a consistent performer who defends well at left-back but also has the energy to get forward into attacking areas.

ASHLEY RICHARDS (Fulham, 12/04/91, 9 caps, 0 goals)

The right-back had to drop down into the Championship to get regular club football but has never let Wales down when needed.

MIDFIELDERS

JOE ALLEN (Liverpool, 14/03/90, 25 caps, 0 goals)

Impressive for Liverpool in recent weeks and huge cog in the Wales midfield with his intelligent passing and positional play.

JOE LEDLEY (Crystal Palace, 23/01/87, 61 caps, 4 goals)

The experienced Palace man, who recovered from a fractured leg to make the squad, is a tireless worker who dovetails well with Allen in central midfield.

DAVID VAUGHAN (Nottingham Forest, 18/02/83, 41 caps, 1 goal)

Likely to provide back-up in France but an experienced campaigner who knows the demands of the midfield holding job well.

ANDY KING (Leicester, 29/10/88, 32 caps, 2 goals)

On a high after Leicester’s stunning Premier League title success and capable of scoring goals from central midfield.

AARON RAMSEY (Arsenal, 26/12/90, 38 caps, 10 goals)

High-energy midfielder who has racked up over 250 appearances for Arsenal and has the licence to support the frontmen for Wales.

DAVE EDWARDS (Wolves, 03/02/86, 31 caps, 3 goals)

Recovered from a broken foot to take his place in the squad and his experience could prove useful for Wales in France.

GEORGE WILLIAMS (Fulham, 07/09/95, 7 caps, 0 goals)

Impact has been slowed by a serious knee injury in 2015 but youthful zest has been a plus for Wales when he has been involved.

JONATHAN WILLIAMS (Crystal Palace, 9/10/93, 11 caps, 0 goals)

Clever on the ball and made an exciting international introduction, but he has been plagued by injuries and had limited chances.

DAVID COTTERILL (Birmingham, 04/12/87, 23 caps, 2 goals)

Enjoyed a bright season in the Championship and provides reliable midfield cover with his dead-ball delivery a dangerous weapon.

FORWARDS

HAL ROBSON-KANU (Reading, 21/05/89, 30 caps, 2 goals)

Unselfish front-runner who has become something of a cult hero with the fans. Harries defenders and never gives up a lost cause.

SAM VOKES (Burnley, 21/10/89, 39 caps, 6 goals)

The burly striker’s goals helped Burnley back into the Premier League and his physical presence offers Wales another attacking option.

GARETH BALE (Real Madrid, 16/7/89, 54 caps, 19 goals)

On a high after lifting the Champions League trophy for the second time, the team’s star player has pace, skill and the ability to create and score goals.

SIMON CHURCH (MK Dons, 10/12/88, 35 caps, 3 goals)

Went to Aberdeen on loan to get vital pre-Euros game time, and goals in Scotland secured his place in the squad for France.

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