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Wales hopeful 'devastated' Hennessey can face England

Britain Football Soccer - Wales Press Conference - The Vale Resort, Hensol, Vale of Glamorgan, Wales - 1/6/16 Wales' Wayne Hennessey poses after the press conference Action Images via Reuters / Andrew Couldridge/ Livepic
Britain Football Soccer - Wales Press Conference - The Vale Resort, Hensol, Vale of Glamorgan, Wales - 1/6/16Wales' Wayne Hennessey poses after the press conferenceAction Images via Reuters / Andrew Couldridge/ Livepic

By Ed Dove

BORDEAUX, France (Reuters) - Wales goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey could return to face England on Thursday after missing his side's Euro 2016 opener because of a back problem.

Wales marked their first appearance at a major tournament since 1958 with a 2-1 victory over Slovakia in Bordeaux on Saturday but the 57-cap Hennessey was unable to play after suffering a back injury in training on Friday.

"Wayne's devastated," manager Chris Coleman told journalists. "It's such a blow for him. We always talk about (Gareth) Bale, Rambo (Aaron Ramsey) and Joe Allen but we don't talk about the goalkeeper for some reason.

"He's one of the main reasons we're here but he tweaked his back and we weren't in a position to let him play. We couldn't risk it.

"He's feeling better, we'll monitor it and we hope he'll play (against England on Thursday)."

Hennessey's place for the Group B game against Slovakia was taken by 22-year-old Danny Ward, making only his third appearance and his first start, and while the inexperienced keeper appeared nervous during the opening 20 minutes, he made a series of fine saves during the second half.

"For Danny to come into that atmosphere when the pressure was on him and perform like that was outstanding," said Coleman.

Hennessey kept seven clean sheets in 10 qualifying matches and conceded only four goals.

(Editing by Clare Fallon)

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