Robert Page’s journey from scoring in all four English leagues to leading Wales

Wales v Czech Republic – FIFA World Cup 2022 – European Qualifying – Group E – Cardiff City Stadium
Wales v Czech Republic – FIFA World Cup 2022 – European Qualifying – Group E – Cardiff City Stadium (PA Wire)
18:32pm, Fri 23 Apr 2021
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Robert Page will remain in charge of Wales for this summer’s European Championship.

The Football Association of Wales announced the decision after manager Ryan Giggs was charged with assaulting two women and controlling or coercive behaviour.

Here the PA news agency takes a look at the career of Page, who has been in temporary charge of the team since Giggs’ arrest in November.

A man for all divisions

Wat v Liv Owen Page block (PA Archive)

In a playing career which saw him turn out for Watford, Sheffield United, Cardiff, Coventry, Huddersfield, and Chesterfield, Page achieved the rare honour of captaining a side and scoring in all four divisions. Appointed club captain of Watford in the third tier in 1997, he achieved two promotions with the Hornets to enjoy one season in what was then the Premiership. He finished his career in League Two with Chesterfield, retiring in 2011.

Reaching ‘the pinnacle’

Soccer – International Friendly – Wales v Hungary – Millennium Stadium (PA Archive)

Page won 41 caps for Wales over the course of a decade between 1996 and 2005, making his debut against Turkey. He was named captain for a 2-0 win over Hungary in early 2005, which he later described as the “pinnacle of my international career”. Page had the opportunity to win more caps, but within 24 hours of being recalled to the squad for the Euro 2008 qualifying campaign, Page told manager John Toshack that he wished to end his international career.

Shift into coaching

Soccer – Capital One Cup – Second Round – West Bromwich Albion v Port Vale – The Hawthorns (PA Archive)

After hanging up his boots at the end of the 2010-11 season, Page was offered a route into coaching at Port Vale by his old manager Micky Adams, who had signed him at Coventry in 2005 and made him captain a year later. He began in the youth set-up but was quickly promoted to first-team coach and then, when Adams opted to take time off following surgery in September 2013, was named interim boss. A year later he took the job on full-time following Adams’ exit before moving on to Northampton in 2016.

Wales Under-21s

Wales v Czech Republic – FIFA World Cup 2022 – European Qualifying – Group E – Cardiff City Stadium (PA Wire)

Page was sacked by the Cobblers in 2017, but spent only a couple of months coaching at Nottingham Forest before being handed another management opportunity, this time with Wales Under-21s. His record over 15 games was five wins, five draws and five defeats, but more importantly, several young players graduated through the ranks to join the senior squad, with Joe Morrell, David Brooks, Daniel James, Joe Rodon and Rabbi Matondo among the players to have worked with Page.

Strong start

Wales v Czech Republic – FIFA World Cup 2022 – European Qualifying – Group E – Cardiff City Stadium (PA Wire)

Page, who was made an assistant coach to Giggs in August 2019, stepped up to become the caretaker manager in November last year after Giggs’ arrest. His first match was a goalless draw with the United States in a friendly, but he followed that with Nations League wins over the Republic of Ireland and Finland as Wales secured promotion out of League B. Last month a 3-1 defeat to Belgium was followed by a friendly win over Mexico and a World Cup qualifying victory against the Czech Republic, giving Page four wins from his six games in charge.

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