Coleman crisis looming

First published in Sport

Wales manager Chris Coleman has lost three of his first-choice starting XI to injury ahead of the start of their World Cup qualifying campaign aga-inst Belgium on Friday.

Swansea left-back Neil Taylor is facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines (see below) after fracturing his ankle against Sunderland on Saturday, while Brighton midfielder Andrew Crofts will also miss out after picking up an ankle injury.

Cardiff striker Craig Bellamy is the third player to be withdrawn from the squad due to a calf injury, with the Football Association of Wales confirming the news on their website.

Bellamy’s Cardiff team-mate, Rob Earnshaw, is the only person to have been called into the squad as cover.

Coleman has already been hit hard by injury problems, with Celtic’s Joe Ledley (groin), Sunderland’s David Vaughan (groin), Wolves ’keeper Wayne Hennessey (knee) and West Ham’s Jack Collison (knee) all absent from his initial 23-man selection. Uncapped Crystal Palace midfielder Jonathan Williams was included in the squad, as was Leicester’s Andy King.

Key trio Gareth Bale, Joe Allen and Aaron Ramsey are all available for the daunting clash with a Belgium squad including the likes of Vincent Kompany, Mousa Dembele, Marouane Fellaini, Alex Witsel and Eden Hazard, and then the trip to Serbia four days later.

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