Danny Cowley details how Wales star Joe Morrell’s World Cup finals duty in Qatar will impact on Portsmouth availability



Although Morrell wasn’t used from the bench for the 1-0 victory, a haul of 27 caps reflects a player regularly involved under boss Rob Page.

Wales’ World Cup finals campaign begins with three Group B fixtures, which start on November 21 against USA and end on November 29 versus England.

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The last 16 consists of the Group B runners-up facing Group A winners on December 3 at the Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan.

The following day, December 4, the Group B winners come up against Group A runners-up at the Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor.

Overall, the World Cup ends on December 18, spanning almost four weeks.

Cowley, however, is relaxed over the length of Morrell’s potential absence with Wales.

Joe Morrell celebrates Wales’ first qualification for the World Cup finals since 1958. He will now be absent for a period of Pompey’s 2022-23 campaign. Picture: Michael Steele/Getty Images

He told The News: ‘Joe’s a top player, we are really lucky to have him.

‘He’s a Welsh international who can give you so much control and rhythm in games. He just takes the ball, it doesn’t matter where he is on the pitch, he’s always willing to take the ball.

‘When he’s got good movement ahead of him, he is always able to find a forward pass and progress and speed your play up.

‘In terms of our game idea and how we want to play, he makes angles and options, has that lovely tight turning circle and ball manipulation where he can get out of the tight areas.

‘If you look at it, during the World Cup they only actually miss two league games, especially as we are not going to play any mid-week games in that period.

‘So we could possibly be without Joe for two league games and potentially two cup games.

‘There are actually fewer international breaks because of the World Cup, so while there is one in September, there isn’t any in October.’

Pompey discover their 2022-23 League One fixtures on Thursday, June 23.

At that point it will become a little clearer over which specific matches Morrell will be absent from.

Regardless, Cowley considers the former Luton man as a pivotal player for the Blues.

He added: ‘Joe had a couple of bouts of Covid, which may have disrupted him a little bit physically.

‘Trying to find the right partner for him is always the important thing, someone that can complement what he does.

‘He loves to buzz around, so you need someone positioned next to him who is quite disciplined.

‘I think he and Louis (Thompson) actually found a really nice partnership in the second part of the season.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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