Wales boss Coleman grounded by passport problems

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WALES manager Chris Coleman was delayed in travelling to Macedonia for tonight’s World Cup qualifier due to passport issues.

Coleman was not present at the Philip II Arena for Wales’ pre-match press conference last night, nor for their final training session at the venue.

Coleman’s assistant Kit Symons faced the media instead and put the players through their paces, with Coleman due to arrive later in the evening.

A tweet on the Football Association of Wales’ official account read: “Manager Chris Coleman will arrive in Skopje later tonight after a passport issue delayed his departure from Cardiff.” When Symons faced the media, he and the FAW refused to clarify what had caused Coleman to be delayed, but it is understood he lost his passport and, having obtained a replacement, was travelling from Heathrow to Skopje via Vienna.

Captain Ashley Williams appeared amused by the incident, joking: “I’ve got my passport!”

He added: “Most people did not realise anything was wrong until we were on the plane, he is touching down any moment I think. I don’t think it is too much of a big deal to be honest, it is something that can happen to any of us, we are all human.

“We had our meeting yesterday and we will have meetings tonight and tomorrow, and I am sure it will not be a disruption.”

Coleman’s absence managed the impossible by ensuring Gareth Bale was not the No 1 topic of conversation at a Wales press conference. Bale has made it clear he wants to play tonight, but the Wales camp are remaining coy on whether they are prepared to risk starting him, given he has not played since July.