The picture facing Tyler Roberts in Leeds United forward's hunt for Euros minutes with Wales
LEEDS United have four players left at the Euros but three of them are yet to kick a ball.
Two of them in Robin Koch and Diego Llorente represent nations who are among the leading fancies to be crowned European champions in Germany and Spain respectively.
The third Whites player in question, Tyler Roberts is part of interim boss Rob Page’s Wales squad who will look to storm into the quarter finals with victory against Denmark in Amsterdam tonight (kick-off 5pm).
The Wales squad features 12 players who ply their trade in the Championship and one from League One yet Premier League regular Roberts is still waiting for his first minutes of the Euros.
So why is Roberts not being used and what are the chances of the 22-year-old finally bagging minutes against the Danes or beyond?
On the face of it, Roberts has work to do, purely on the basis that he was an unused substitute in all three of Wales’ group games.
But the Whites forward is able to tick plenty of boxes having been used in positions across the full attacking sphere since joining Leeds from West Brom in January 2018.
The Gloucester-born footballer sees himself as a natural no 9 and envisages his long-term future as a striker but Roberts has predominantly been deployed as a no 10 by Leeds of late. Earlier on, the Wales international was also fielded out wide.
Internationally, Roberts has amassed 14 caps for Wales but the Whites forward feared for his place in his country’s Euros squad when breaching Covid-19 protocols with Wales back in March.
The Whites forward was sent home from the squad along with team mates Hal Robson-Kanu and Rabbi Matondo ahead of the World Cup qualifier against the Czech Republic but Roberts was then named in Page’s 26-man squad for the Euros.
The United player was then an unused substitute in the 3-0 friendly defeat against France but started his side’s final warm up game at home to Albania which ended in a goalless draw.
The Leeds attacker lined up as the lone striker but was taken off in the 71st minute for Gareth Bale and that outing remains his most recent for Wales.
His last minutes in a competitive game for his country came back in March in the 3-1 World Cup qualifying defeat in Belgium. Roberts was brought on as a 67th-minute substitute for Liverpool’s former Cardiff City loanee Harry Wilson who started as part of a front three alongside Dan James and Gareth Bale.
But Page went with something altogether different as Wales began their Euros against Switzerland as towering Cardiff striker Kieffer Moore was selected to lead the line and flanked by the pace and skill of Real Madrid superstar Bale and Manchester United winger James.
At six-foot-five, Moore is a unique attacking option for Wales and the 28-year-old headed home the equaliser in a 1-1 draw.
With the scores level, Page made a change to his attacking line with 15 minutes left but Roberts kept his seat as Bournemouth’s David Brooks was brought on to replace winger James.
Page then went with the same attacking set up against Turkey as Aaron Ramsey and Conor Roberts both struck in a 2-0 victory.
James was taken off with one minute left for full back Neco Williams with Wales 1-0 up.
It meant Roberts was once again an unused substitute and it was the same story in the Group A finale against Italy despite three changes to the XI and five changes from the bench.
Moore, who was carrying a yellow card, was named amongst the subs as Ramsey instead featured in a front three along with Bale and James.
Ramsey is a class act who plys his trade for Juventus but the 30-year-old is a centre midfielder by trade and Roberts would have been the more obvious shout in the absence of Moore.
Moore was introduced on the hour mark and Roberts stayed on the bench despite both James and even Bale being taken off as 23-year-old Brooks and 24-year-old Wilson were once again the more forward thinking options introduced, along with Moore.
It means the wait goes on for a Whites player who now has 27 Premier League outings under his belt and one goal; a player who has lots to offer in varying positions.
But in Moore, Bale, James, Brooks, Wilson and even Ramsey, he also seemingly has lots of players ahead of him in the Wales queue.
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Thank you Laura Collins