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Vokes Moves Up As World Cup Beckons

Vokes, Long and Walters add to caps while Pope waits in the wings

29 May 2018

Sam Vokes moved up to joint 19th on the all-time list of appearance makers for Wales after winning his 59th cap for his country.

The Clarets’ striker moved alongside national heroes Terry Yorath, Kevin Ratcliffe, Cliff Jones and Barry Horne after being picked by Ryan Giggs for Wales’ 0-0 friendly draw with Mexico in the Pasadena Rose Bowl in California in the early hours of Tuesday.

Vokes played the first half of the game – watched by a crowd of 82,395 – as Wales held a Mexico team warming up for the World Cup Finals.

Burnley team-mates Kevin Long and Jon Walters were also in action for their country as the Republic of Ireland lost 2-0 to Russia-bound France.

Both started the game in the Stade de France, with Long winning his sixth cap and Walters his 52nd.  

Ireland are in action again this coming Saturday, when Jeff Hendrick could be fit to feature, when they face the United States in Dublin.

England and Iceland also play on Saturday as they fine-tune their preparations for the World Cup Finals.

Clarets winger Johann Berg Gudmundsson is expected to play for Iceland in their friendly with Norway, while England face Nigeria at Wembley.

That’s the first of two warm-up games for Gareth Southgate’s squad before they fly to Russia, with the second against Costa Rica at Elland Road on Thursday, 7 June.

Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope will be hoping to win a first cap at some stage after being named in the World Cup squad, while Turf Moor team-mate Tom Heaton is also training with the national team in his role as a stand-by keeper.

However, James Tarkwoski is no longer providing back up after leaving England’s World Cup camp at St George’s Park to undergo a hernia operation, which is expected to have the defender fit for the start of the Clarets’ pre-season training in just over a month’s time.

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