James Lawrence: Wales wait on German club St Pauli to release defender


James Lawrence
Former Anderlecht defender James Lawrence has won eight caps for Wales

Wales say they are relying on St Pauli to release defender James Lawrence in time for Tuesday’s World Cup qualifier against the Czech Republic.

Lawrence played in last Wednesday’s loss in Belgium but could not join the squad in Wales due to Covid-19 rules in Germany, where St Pauli are based.

But Wales caretaker manager Robert Page says restrictions have since eased and the decision now lies with St Pauli.

“It’s difficult. We’ve got the German FA and Fifa on our side,” he said.

“We just need the club to release him. We’re still in dialogue with the club and we’re trying to get him back involved in the group.

“We’re protected by it [the regulations]. The German FA have no issues with it and Fifa have said yes. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t have him in and we’re in dialogue with the club.”

Lawrence, 28, started in Wales’ opening World Cup qualifying defeat against Belgium in Leuven last Wednesday but was unable to join the squad as they returned to their base in Cardiff.

Page said on Friday that he had been told Lawrence could not travel to Wales and was therefore unavailable for Saturday’s friendly against Mexico and Tuesday’s World Cup qualifier against the Czech Republic because of coronavirus restrictions in Germany.

Rules vary in different regions of Germany so, although Lawrence could not play for Wales in Cardiff, Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham was able to play for England at Wembley on Thursday.

Now, however, it appears the restrictions have changed again and Wales are hopeful they will have Lawrence available against the Czech Republic.

“He had to go back after the Belgium game. The [German] government at the time wouldn’t allow him to come to the UK,” said Page.

“But restrictions have eased now and it should be no different now to what it was before Belgium. We just need the club now to give us the nod to bring him over.”

Wales are particularly keen to have Lawrence at their disposal because defenders Ben Davies and Tom Lockyer have withdrawn from the squad through injury.

“We wanted it done as soon as possible, done by tomorrow [Sunday] morning. We’ll keep on pursuing it, everyone’s backing us,” said Page.

“We’ll speak to James again to see how quickly we can get him in. If it’s Monday, it’s Monday, but ideally we’re on the pitch again tomorrow and planning has already started for Tuesday’s game.”



BBC News

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