Wales will be without Joe Allen, the Liverpool midfielder, for their European Championship qualifiers against Cyprus and Israel due to a hamstring injury. Allen was due to miss the opening game in Nicosia with a suspension, having picked up a third yellow card against Belgium in June ,but has now been ruled out of both games due to a problem he suffered during pre-season.
The 25 year old limped out of the friendly win over Swindon Town at the start of August, with manager Brendan Rodgers confirming Allen's absence would be between three and four weeks. However, having not played in any of the Reds' opening three Premier League games, Allen will be absent for his country, leading to questions over his recovery.
"Obviously Joe Allen was suspended for the first game... but we were optimistic for the second one up until recently," said Wales boss Chris Coleman of the Liverpool man, according to BBC Sport. "So it's disappointing because we haven't had Emyr Hughes [due to an ankle problem] for a while through injury, who can play in that holding position like Joe. We've lost David Vaughan also, so with natural holding players it's been a bit tough."
Coleman was speaking after confirming his 23-man squad for the Euro 2016 qualifying double-header, which includes Gareth Bale despite the 26 year old suffering a toe problem during Real Madrid La Liga draw with Sporting Gijon. Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey and Wales captain Ashley Williams are among the other notable inclusions.
Allen was initially expected to miss just four weeks of the season and return in time for Wales' crucial qualifiers, two matches that will significantly impact on their attempts to qualify for the European Championships for the first time ever. Following the 2-1 win over Swindon, Liverpool manager Rodgers said, according to the club's official website: "He'll probably miss three to four weeks, which is disappointing. He certainly won't be available for the weekend."
The absence of Allen saw Liverpool forced to start with Lucas Leiva for the goalless draw against Arsenal, with the Brazilian now set to stay at the club, with their midfield resources stretched. Captain Jordan Henderson is currently out with a foot problem.