Aberdeen attacker Ryan Hedges has not given up on his dream of reaching the Euro 2020 finals after returning from long term injury.
Wales caretaker boss Robert Page has yet to name his 26 man squad for the summer finals and has until a June 1 deadline to do so.
Hedges’ dream of starring in the Euros looked over when suffering a serious pectoral muscle injury in early February that required surgery.
The initial prognosis was that Hedges’ season, and any aspirations of a Euro 2020 spot, were over.
However he returned earlier than anticipated to feature in the final three games of the Premiership season and Hedges hopes that has moved him back onto Page’s radar.
If I am there it would be unbelievable to play in a major tournament for your country.”
The 25-year-old netted within four minutes of his return when coming off the bench in a 2-1 defeat of Livingston and although losing to Hibs and Rangers showed his attacking prowess in both matches.
If his return to fitness is too late to influence Page’s selection Hedges will cheer on his international team-mates from his sofa as they bid to better the historic achievement of reaching the semi-finals at Euro 2016.
Capped three times by Wales, Hedges said: “If I am there it would be unbelievable to play in a major tournament for your country.
“If not, I will be supporting them from home and hopefully the boys can go one step further than they did last time in the Euros.’
Even if Hedges does miss out on Page’s 26 man squad all is not lost.
Even after squads have been submitted on the June 1 deadline there can be unlimited replacements before the first match in the event of serious injury or illness, including Covid-19 or being a ‘close contact’ to a positive case.
Caretaker boss Page has taken full control of the Wales national team in the absence of manager Ryan Giggs who stepped back from his role last November.
Wales were making their Euros debut at the 2016 tournament and progressed to the semi-finals where they were defeated 2-0 by eventual winners Portugal.
Hedges was part of the Welsh squad which secured Euro 2020 qualification with a 2-0 defeat of Hungary in November 2019.
Absolute pleasure to be a part of this special squad ❤️🙌🏼 https://t.co/5CxxFkcJjK
— Ryan Hedges (@RyanHedges95) November 19, 2019
Wales will face Italy, Turkey and Switzerland in Group A with their first game on Saturday June 12 against Switzerland in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Before the Euros the Welsh will face World Cup holders France in Nice on Wednesday June 2 before a home clash with Albania at Cardiff City Stadium on Saturday June 5.
Irrespective of whether Hedges’ receives his dream call-up or not Aberdeen will have representation at the Euro 2020 finals.
Centre-back Declan Gallagher was named in Scotland boss Steve Clarke’s squad earlier this week although there was heartache for defender Andy Considine who lost out.
Motherwell defender Gallagher has agreed a pre-contract and will join Aberdeen on a two year contract when the transfer window opens on June 1.
Hedges hopes to have a busy summer with the Welsh squad but also anticipates a hectic time for Aberdeen manager Stephen Glass in the transfer window.
Glass has already made four signings with Gallagher, Scott Brown (Celtic), Jay Emmanuel-Thomas (Livingston) and Gary Woods (Oldham) all joining the Reds on two year contracts.
The management team have already recruited some players and I’m sure it will be a busy summer. ”
More are to come as a deal has been offered to Rotherham centre-back Clark Robertson and the Dons have enquired about a loan deal for right back Jack Gurr from strategic partner club Atlanta United in the United States.
Glass also has St Mirren attacking midfielder Jamie McGrath and Hibs midfielder Jackson Irvine on his radar.
Australian Irvine is out of contract after this weekend’s Scottish Cup final with St Johnstone.
McGrath has a year left on his St Mirren contract and it would take a significant six figure sum for the Buddies to be temped to sell a player who netted 17 times this season.
Hedges said: “The management team have already recruited some players and I’m sure it will be a busy summer.
“Then we will have to kick on because there is plenty to look forward to, with fans back in the stadiums as well, which is the main thing.
“We are in European competition again (Uefa Conference League) and there should be a feel-good factor going into next season.”
Hedges will be fundamental to Glass’ squad next season and underlined his quality with a superb run at goal against Rangers in the 4-0 loss at Ibrox in the final game of the season where he beat three men before unleashing a shot that was saved by keeper Allan McGregor.
The Welsh international is confident the Reds will be strong next season.
He said: “I have been really impressed with the manager and Allan (Russell, assistant manager).
“We have been working on attacking patterns and you can really see the intensity the lads are all working at.
“With Scott Brown coming in the summer that is another good acquisition.
“We can all really look forward to next season.”
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