Pembrokeshire's Joe Allen has twice fought his way back from injury to take his place in the Wales squad for the Euro 2020 finals - and his experience could play a key role in Robert Page's youthful squad.

It has been a long battle for the 31 year-old midfielder to achieve match fitness, but he has made it back just in time for Wales' opening group games against Switzerland, Turkey and Italy.

Allen, who grew up in Narberth and attended Ysgol y Preseli in Crymych, was hugely influential in getting Wales all the way to the semi-finals five years ago, and could play a big part again as they bid to recapture the spirit of 2016.

His superb performances at the finals in France even earned him a place in the UEFA team of the tournament, along with Wales teammate Aaron Ramsay, and both are hoping to stay fit enough to impress again in the Wales midfield.

An achilles tendon rupture last year kept Allen out for nine months, and would have ruled the former Swansea City and Liverpool star out of the Euro 2020 finals - had they not been postponed for 12 months due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

The Stoke City player battled his way back, however, only to then suffer a calf injury less than 10 minutes into his return for Wales in their World Cup qualifier against Belgium in March.

His comeback, alongside that of two other fellow veterans from the class of 2016 - Ramsay and Ben Davies - is a massive boost ahead of the opening game against against the Swiss in Baku this Saturday.

Juventus playmaker Ramsey, aged 30, and Tottenham defender Davies, 28, are also heading into the Euro finals, having had little game time because of injuries.

Talisman Gareth Bale is another of the eight players from the Euro 2016 squad, whose form and fitness may have a significant bearing on the team's fortunes.

The other survivors from the 2016 squad who will add their experience are Chris Gunter, Danny Ward, Jonny Williams and Wayne Hennessey.

While some of the older players, Bale aside, have struggled with injuries, however, there is the promise of a new generation who bring pace and ambition.

The presence of Manchester United's Daniel James and Harry Wilson, on loan to Cardiff City from Liverpool, means the side is not reliant on the giants of 2016.

Liverpool’s Neco Williams, yet another short of game time, can operate on either side of defence, and 20-year-old Manchester United midfielder Dylan Levitt impressed in last week’s friendlies.

Then there is the wildcard selection of uncapped 19-year-old Rubin Colwill, who played only six times for Cardiff City last season.

In fact, Wales have an average age of 25 years, six months and 26 days – almost two years younger than the squad which reached the semi-finals of Euro 2016 in France.

Only England and Group A rivals Turkey have younger groups, and interim manager Robert Page believes is confident he was a good balance in the squad.

“I have a great group and a very good mix,” Page said, ahead of Wales’ tournament opening group game against Switzerland in Baku on Saturday.

“The older ones have got great character, temperament and personality, but we’ve got young, ambitious and hungry players coming into the squad that want their jerseys.

"Nobody can rest on what they’ve done before, there’s a good blend, and on top of that they’re good characters.

“I liken it to a club environment, and that is hard to achieve when you’ve only got them for sporadic moments throughout the year.”

Sixteen players have 20 caps or less, five have under 10 appearances - and Cardiff midfielder Colwill only made his debut against France last week.

“There’s absolutely no fear with youngsters,” Page said. “You’ve seen that with Rubin, he belongs here.

“Look at Joe Morrell’s performance against France. He was like ‘give me the ball’, he wanted to be the best player on the pitch.

“We’ve got hungry players like that. It’s not just about having talented footballers, it’s about the right characters as well and all our players have got that.”

Wales squad for Euro 2020

Goalkeepers: Wayne Hennessey (Crystal Palace), Danny Ward (Leicester City), Adam Davies (Stoke City).

Defenders: Chris Gunter (Charlton Athletic), Ben Davies (Tottenham Hotspur), Connor Roberts (Swansea City), Ethan Ampadu (Chelsea), Chris Mepham (AFC Bournemouth), Joe Rodon (Tottenham Hotspur), James Lawrence (St Pauli), Neco Williams (Liverpool), Rhys Norrington-Davies (Sheffield United), Ben Cabango (Swansea City).

Midfielders: Aaron Ramsey (Juventus), Joe Allen (Stoke City), Jonny Williams (Cardiff City), Harry Wilson (Liverpool), Daniel James (Manchester United), David Brooks (AFC Bournemouth), Joe Morrell (Luton Town), Matt Smith (Manchester City), Dylan Levitt (Manchester United), Rubin Colwill (Cardiff City).

Forwards: Gareth Bale (Real Madrid), Kieffer Moore (Cardiff City), Tyler Roberts (Leeds United).