World Cup 2022: Joe Allen returns to training to boost Wales

Joe Allen
Joe Allen has only made nine appearances this season and has not played in almost two months
Host nation: Qatar Dates: 20 November-18 December Coverage: Live on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer, BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, BBC Sounds and the BBC Sport website and app. Day-by-day TV listingsFull coverage details

Wales have been handed a significant boost ahead of their World Cup opener against the United States on Monday as midfielder Joe Allen has returned to training in Qatar.

The 32-year-old has not played since suffering a hamstring injury for club side Swansea City on 17 September.

Allen is a key player for Wales, who are competing in a World Cup for the first time since 1958.

Allen joined Wales’ first training session in Qatar with his team-mates.

He then concluded the session by doing individual work with Wales’ medical head, Sean Connelly.

Wales have rescheduled all their World Cup training sessions in order to cope with the searing heat in Qatar.

Robert Page’s squad had been due to train at 13:30 local time, but with temperatures exceeding 30C, Wales trained at 16:00 local time at their Al-Sadd base in Doha.

Allen told BBC Sport Wales last week that he hoped to be fit for Wales’ opener with the USA.

“I’m hoping to be fit for the first game. There isn’t much time, but this is an important week for me,” he said.

“It’s improving, thankfully. I’m doing everything I can to get myself fit for the World Cup.

“I really want to prove my fitness. We’ll have to see how this week goes, but I feel confident and comfortable that it won’t be too much of a problem.”

Allen’s injury has been a source of consternation for club and country.

Swansea City head coach Russell Martin said the club’s treatment of the injury “wasn’t good enough”, adding that it “could have been avoided”.

When Wales manager Robert Page named his 26-man squad for the World Cup he said: “It’s not ideal if I’m honest, but we’re giving him [Allen] every opportunity to get him fit to get into the starting XI for the first game.”

However, despite the initial complications in his recovery, Allen hopes he will be fit to face the United States having gone to great lengths to heal his hamstring.

“At the start, I was a bit unlucky in terms of knowing what exactly the problem was but, thankfully, we did discover how bad the injury was,” Allen told Newyddion S4C.

“We made a recovery plan and worked hard. I’m thankful I’ve had so much help from everyone at Swansea and Wales.

“I’ve been to Liverpool to see a specialist and had a hyberbaric oxygen chamber in my house. I’ve thrown everything it.

“By now, things are going well and hopefully I’ll be ready for the start of the tournament.”

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