Soccer

Wales will reap rewards of Joe Rodon’s move to Rennes, Robert Page claims

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Wales boss Robert Page says he “hated” seeing Joe Rodon on the Tottenham bench week after week and believes his move to France will improve him as a player.

Rodon was a pivotal figure as Wales qualified for their first World Cup since 1958, prompting captain Gareth Bale to remark that the centre-back “deserved” to be playing regularly for his former club.

The 24-year-old actually played more minutes for Wales than Spurs last term, and joined Rennes on a season-long loan deal in August.

“I hated seeing Joe on the bench every week because he’s such a wonderful talent,” Page said ahead of naming his squad for Wales’ final Nations League games against Belgium and Poland.

“I’ve worked with him for years with the under-21s and seen his potential. There’s better to come from Joe, believe me, and going out to play games now will help him achieve that.”

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Rodon has made an impressive start to life at Rennes, who currently lie sixth in Ligue 1.

He has started seven of their eight games and scored his first career goal in the 3-1 victory over Brest.

“He’s obviously done his homework on Rennes and the league,” said Page, speaking to the PA news agency on behalf of M&S Food’s Eat Well, Play Well campaign.

“I think it will suit him as he’s got all the attributes of a top-class centre-half. He’s massive for us and he’s never let me down, but you can’t continue to not play because eventually it will catch up with you.

“When he’s playing week in and week out and coming into camp full of confidence he is the complete player.

“I love to see Joe on the ball and driving forward. Playing out there in that league will give him the opportunity to do that repetitively every week.”

Aaron Ramsey and Harry Wilson are set to miss Wales’ final games before the World Cup in November.

Nice playmaker Ramsey has suffered a hamstring injury which is expected to sideline him until next month, while Fulham midfielder Harry Wilson has not played this season due to a knee problem.

Tom Lawrence is also nursing a knee injury and unavailable, but the Rangers summer signing is unlikely to make Wales’ World Cup squad.

Lawrence’s former Derby manager Wayne Rooney suggested in April that the forward was being overlooked by Wales because there was “history” between the player and Page.

But Page said: “There’s no history between me and Tom. Understandably he was disappointed that I didn’t take him to the Euros, I would have been disappointed as a player as well.

“I think he deserved his move to Rangers off the back of his performances at Derby and he’s a good player.

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“But Brennan Johnson and Rubin Colwill have come into the squad, and we’ve got youngsters like Luke Harris that people are talking about. That’s just football.”

The 17-year-old Harris, a regular scorer for Fulham Under-23s last season, made his first-team debut last month and could get a maiden senior Wales call-up.

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