Carmarthen Journal

Page plan pays off as Moore picks up new trick


ROBERT Page celebrated Wales reaching the last 16 of Euro 2020 after sending on Kieffer Moore against Italy and telling the substitute to “jump with no arms”.

Wales held on to second spot in Group A despite losing 1-0 in Rome, finishing above Switzerlan­d – who beat Turkey 3-1 in Baku – on goal difference.

But Wales’s five-goal advantage over Switzerlan­d at kick-off was in danger of being wiped out when Ethan Ampadu was dismissed after 55 minutes.

Ampadu was shown a straight red card for a late challenge on Federico Bernardesc­hi, and interim manager Page turned to Moore as an attacking option to keep the ball away from an overworked Wales defence.

The 6ft 5in Cardiff City striker had been left on the bench with Page aware that a second booking in the tournament would rule him out of a last-16 tie.

“I went with my heart for the last half an hour and got Kieffer on the pitch,” Page said after Wales had lost to Matteo Pessina’s first-half flick.

“Otherwise we would have been camped on the edge of our box.

“To do that against a very good Italian team, they would have broke us down again and it could have been two or three.

“Kieffer is one of those players that unfortunat­ely could accidental­ly get a booking. He understood my concern.

“I asked him to jump with no arms and he did.

“Watching him jump was hysterical.”

Moore scored Wales’s first goal of the tournament in the 1-1 draw against Switzerlan­d and is integral to their style of play with his size, strength and hold-up ability.

But Moore joined Ben Davies and Chris Mepham – who are also carrying yellow cards – on the bench as Page brought in Ampadu, Chris Gunter and Neco Williams at the Stadio Olimpico.

“I had some tough decisions before the game,” said Page, whose side will head to Amsterdam for their last-16 tie.

“My heart was telling me to continue the momentum against Turkey and keep going.

“But there was a risk element with the three lads on bookings. There was a strong probabilit­y – a 95 per cent chance – that we would have gone through anyway, so I put them on the bench. They understood my concern and agreed with the decision.”

“Don’t underestim­ate the character of a Welshman. It’s phenomenal what that changing room has got in there.”

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