James Lawrence: St Pauli defender rejoins Wales for Czech Republic game

James Lawrence
Former Anderlecht defender James Lawrence has won eight caps for Wales
World Cup 2022 qualifying: Wales v Czech Republic
Venue: Cardiff City Stadium Date: Tuesday, 30 March Kick-off: 19:45 BST
Coverage: Live on BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, 5 Live, BBC Sounds, BBC Sport website and app, S4C

Defender James Lawrence has rejoined Wales' squad for Tuesday's World Cup qualifier against the Czech Republic.

Lawrence played in last week's loss in Belgium, but could not travel to Wales because of Covid-19 rules in Germany.

He therefore missed Saturday's friendly win over Mexico but, after restrictions were eased, his club St Pauli announced on social mediaexternal-link he had been cleared by local health authorities to travel.

"It's really pleasing," said Wales' caretaker manager Robert Page.

"You want your best players on camp with you and he certainly falls into that category. I thought he was excellent against Belgium for us.

"It was disappointing to have him go back to Germany. But with restrictions easing the following morning, we had our fingers on the pulse with regards to that.

"I was made aware of it as we were walking out for training the following morning and acted on it straightaway.

"It's been a frustrating process, but thankfully sense was seen in the end and we managed to get him in."

Lawrence started Wales' opening World Cup qualifying defeat by Belgium in Leuven last Wednesday, but was unable to travel with the rest of Page's squad as they returned to their Cardiff base because of coronavirus restrictions.

As rules varied in different regions of Germany at the time, Lawrence could not play for Wales in Cardiff, but Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham was able to play for England at Wembley last Thursday.

However, the easing of restrictions in Germany means Wales have Lawrence available again.

His return is timely as Wales are without defenders Ben Davies and Tom Lockyer because of injury.

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