Journalists on Wales Zoom calls have been amused and startled at the regular appearance of a model skeleton looming in the background of one of their colleagues’ screens. As a metaphor for the national team’s Euro 2020 preparations, it could scarcely be more apt.
With an improving squad and an impressive sequence of results behind them, Wales would normally be considered dangerous outsiders for the European Championship.
Instead, they are hurtling towards only their second major tournament since 1958 with nobody quite sure who will drive the train or plan the route.
When Wales qualified for Euro 2020 with a 2-0 win over Hungary in Cardiff in November 2019, there was every reason to be optimistic. Ryan Giggs was beginning to find his voice as coach of a team of exciting young players inspired by two elite-level talents in Gareth Bale, who captains the side, and Aaron Ramsey.
Sixteen months later, nothing has changed but everything has changed. Giggs is still officially in charge but missed the last international break after he was arrested on suspicion of assault.
Giggs, who denies all allegations of assault made against him, recently had his bail extended to May 1 and it was then decided that his assistant, Rob Page, would continue to take charge of the team in his absence.
Just as he was last November, Page will be on the touchline as Wales begin their World Cup qualifying campaign with matches against Belgium and the Czech Republic, either side of a friendly against…