Manager booed and facing sack calls despite Liverpool striker’s silver lining

Robert Page faces mounting pressure in his job as Wales manager, being booed by his own fans, but he is still dedicated to nurturing Liverpool’s Lewis Koumas.

Calls for Page to be sacked from his position as manager of Wales increased on Sunday night after a dismal 4-0 defeat to Slovakia in Trnava.

Wales were dominated throughout the friendly defeat, which came after a 0-0 draw with the ninth-worst nation in world football, Gibraltar, on Thursday.

Page was booed off the pitch by the travelling Wales fans, with many now expecting the 49-year-old to be removed from his post ahead of the UEFA Nations League later this year.

The manager is certainly anticipating as much, with a less-than-optimistic interview with S4C after the heaviest defeat of his reign seeing Page admit: “I get it, I’m a supporter myself.”

“If the powers that be decide I’m not the one to lead them forward then that’s their decision,” he continued.

“But I’m fully focused on what the two games were useful for.

“We see that there are some young players that will be an addition to the squad come September.”

One of those youngsters is Liverpool striker Koumas, 18, who came off the bench in both friendlies and is now being tipped to emulate Birmingham City midfielder Jordan James in making the step up full-time.

FARO, PORTUGAL - Thursday, June 6, 2024: Wales' Lewis Koumas during an International Friendly match between Gibraltar and Wales at the Estadio Algarve. (Photo by Carlos Rodrigues/Propaganda)

“It was an opportunity for us to look to the future and Lewis Koumas is an absolute positive,” Page added.

“Without these two games we wouldn’t have seen his capabilities. He will be the next JJ, that’s the positive coming out of the camp.”

It was a bold call from Page to rely on the likes of Koumas despite the obvious pressure on his shoulders, which could be a major positive even if he is sacked.

Taking to Instagram after his debut against Gibraltar, the teenager wrote: “Proud moment making my international senior debut for Wales, something I’ve dreamed of for a long time.

NEWPORT, WALES - Friday, March 22, 2024: Wales' Lewis Koumas celebrates after scoring the winning second goal during the 2025 UEFA European Under-21 Championship Qualifying Group I game between Wales and Lithuania at Rodney Parade. (Photo by Will Cooper/Propaganda)

“[I am] now hungry for more. Thanks to the travelling fans.”

Koumas had already scored on his debut for Wales U21s in March, coming off the bench to net the winner in a 2-1 victory over Lithuania in U21 Euro qualifying.

He also netted on his Liverpool first-team bow a month previous, opening the scoring in the 3-0 FA Cup win over Southampton before Jayden Danns‘ brace.