Ramsey affirms commitment to Wales

04 November 2011 04:17

Captain Aaron Ramsey has said he would turn his back on playing for Great Britain at the Olympics if he felt it would affect Wales' standing as an independent football nation.

The Arsenal midfielder and Tottenham winger Gareth Bale have been pictured posing in the blue Team GB supporters' shirt, and both players have spoken of their desire to be involved in coach Stuart Pearce's squad for the Games.

But the 20-year-old posted on his official Twitter feed: "Relax everyone, there is absolutely no way I would play in the Olympic team if it was going to affect Wales identity as an individual nation!"

The Football Association of Wales, and their Scottish and Irish counterparts, do not want their players to be selected as they fear it may lead to a loss of their independent status with FIFA, although they would have no legal basis on which to prevent the players being involved.

Welsh supporters' groups have also voiced their disapproval at the players being used to promote the shirt. Ramsey, who along with Bale was named in Gary Speed's squad for the friendly against Norway, has moved to reassure fans he would not turn out in London next year if it were harmful to Welsh identity on the international stage.

Ramsey and Bale have been an integral part of the progress made under Speed with Wales, who have won three of their last four games, now up as high as 45th in the FIFA world rankings, having been as low as 117th at one stage. But the recent controversy means there will be plenty of interest in the sort of reception they receive at the Cardiff City Stadium a week on Saturday.

Elsewhere in Speed's 24-man squad there is a recall for Cardiff striker Robert Earnshaw, who missed the wins over Switzerland and Bulgaria with a thigh injury.

Aston Villa's James Collins, Celtic midfielder Joe Ledley and Stoke's Danny Collins, who is on loan at Ipswich, are also handed places after being forced to withdraw from the final Euro 2012 qualifiers. There is no place for QPR defender Danny Gabbidon as he continues his comeback from a knee injury.

Speed's performance manager Damien Roden was again missing from the backroom staff after being absent for last month's qualifiers due to a reported contractual issue with the Football Association of Wales.

Roden, who had previously worked with Manchester City, was one of Speed's first appointments when he succeeded John Toshack in December but his place is again taken by Wales Under-21's sports scientist Adam Owen. The match will be the first time Wales have faced Norway since the Dragons recorded a 3-0 victory in 2008.

Source: PA

World Cup Group G

Belgium 1 0 0 3 3
England 1 0 0 1 3
Tunisa 0 0 1 -1 0
Panama 0 0 1 -3 0
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