Football Features

Remember when Wales showed England how it’s done? Here’s what happened to the heroes of Euro 2016

By Squawka News

Published: 17:47, 20 May 2020

Euro 2016 will be remembered on these shores for England’s capitulation, Iceland’s clap and, most surprisingly, Wales’ heroics at the tournament.

Chris Coleman’s side were brilliant in that summer’s tournament, finishing top of their group and seeing off Belgium in the quarter-finals to get through to the last four of the tournament, where there was no shame in being finally eliminated to eventual champions Portugal.

It led to parades on the streets of Cardiff and announced Wales’ move up the footballing ladder to the world – but what happened next to the 23 man in that squad?

Wayne Hennessey

Position: Goalkeeper

Club: Crystal Palace

Wales Caps: 89

Wales’ undisputed No.1, Hennessey played in all but one of his nation’s matches at Euro 2016. The shot-stopper has been a solid pair of hands for Palace over the years, but is currently playing second fiddle to Vicente Guaita, with just two Premier League appearances to his name this season.

Chris Gunter

Position: Right-back

Club: Reading

Wales Caps: 96

Gunter was an ever present for Wales in France, up until their elimination in the last four. The 30-year-old from Newport has been on the books at Reading since 2012, making over 300 appearances for the Royals. He also scooped the Welsh Footballer of the Year award in 2017.

Neil Taylor

Position: Left-back

Club: Aston Villa

Wales Caps: 43

Despite being a left-back Taylor often featured slightly further forward for Wales as Chris Coleman implemented a three-man rearguard, leaving the versatile defender to play a wing-back role.

Although Taylor was a regular for Swansea during their stint in the Premier League, he dropped down a division to join Aston Villa in a swap deal for Jordan Ayew in 2016. He helped guide the club back to the top-flight last term and was an ever-present at the start of this season, but has fallen out of favour with Dean Smith.

Ben Davies

Position: Left-back

Club: Tottenham

Wales Caps: 52

The energetic full-back has endured an injury-hit season at Spurs, but remains a first-team regular for the national side and an important player for Jose Mourinho when fit and available, particularly with Danny Rose joining Newcastle on loan.

James Chester

Position: Centre-back

Club: Stoke City (on loan from Aston Villa)

Wales Caps: 35

Despite Chester’s excellent showings in France for the Dragons, Premier League side West Brom decided to part ways with the centre-back that same summer, allowing him a move to Aston Villa just a year after signing him for £8m.

Chester had been a regular performer for Villa in the Championship, captaining the side to promotion back to the Premier League, but he failed to muster a single top-flight appearance this campaign and was sent on loan to Stoke in January.

Ashley Williams

Position: Centre-back

Club: Bristol City

Wales Caps: 86

The Wales captain. Williams finally got the move fans across England felt he’d deserved for years after his Euro 2016 campaign, securing a £12m transfer to Everton that same summer.

Sadly for Williams he wasn’t able to match his best form at Goodison Park and he soon left for Stoke on loan before signing permanently for Bristol City last summer.

Joe Allen

Position: Centre-midfield

Club: Stoke City

Wales Caps: 56

Joe Allen showed all of the continent his talents at Euro 2016, being named in the team of the competition. This in turn got him a £13m move from Liverpool to Stoke and in November 2016 he was named on the shortlist for the UEFA Team of the Year.

Unfortunately even the “Welsh Xavi” wasn’t able to prevent the Potters suffering relegation, and he has since struggled this season — along with most of the Stoke team — as the club remain just three points off the Championship drop zone.

Andy King

Position: Centre-midfield

Club: Huddersfield Town (on loan from Leicester City)

Wales Caps: 50

A Leicester player throughout his entire senior career, King enjoyed an amazing 2016 having won the Premier League and then also making the last four at Euro 2016.

King’s bubble has somewhat burst with Leicester moving on to more glittering midfield stars, and the 31-year-old now plies his trade for Huddersfield in the Championship, though he still on the books at the Foxes.

Hal Robson-Kanu

Position: Striker

Club: West Brom

Wales Caps: 44

A free agent when Wales went to Euro 2016, Robson-Kanu put the entire Premier League on notice when he scored a spectacular goal in Wales’ win over Belgium.

The forward eventually settled on a deal with West Brom but Robson-Kanu struggled for regular playing time under Tony Pulis, not making his first start until the end of December in 2016.

He eventually suffered relegation with the club but has been an important member of Slaven Bilic’s Baggies this campaign, scoring 10 league goals as the club currently sit second in the Championship.

Aaron Ramsey

Position: Midfield

Club: Juventus

Wales Caps: 60

Another Wales player named in the Euro 2016 Team of the Tournament, Ramsey was absolutely fantastic in France with the midfielder providing four assists, the joint most in the competition.

He returned to north London and spent three more years at Arsenal, making just south of 400 appearances for the club before joining Juventus last summer, where he has since found opportunities limited under Maurizio Sarri.

Gareth Bale

Position: Forward/Winger

Club: Real Madrid

Wales Caps: 83

A scorer of wonderful goals, Bale netted notable free-kicks against England and Slovakia while also converting against Russia to cement himself as Wales’ diamond.

The forward has mirrored that form for Los Blancos over the years, despite persistent injury problems and a lack of faith at times from Zinedine Zidane, helping the Spanish giants to four Champions League trophies, including the 2018 final in Kiev where he bagged a brace and scored that overhead kick goal.

Owain Fon Williams

Position: Goalkeeper

Club: Dunfermline (on loan from Hamilton)

Wales Caps: 1

Williams has only played for Wales once during his career and did not feature at all at Euro 2016 despite being in the squad. The shot-stopper was at Inverness at the time but has since moved on to Hamilton and now Dunfermline on loan.

George Williams

Position: Winger

Club: Forest Green Rovers

Wales Caps: 7

Despite a promising 2014/15 season, where a teenage Williams made 14 appearances for Fulham in the Championship and impressed for Wales in a string of international friendlies, he has largely failed to kick on and now finds himself in League Two with Forest Green.

David Edwards

Position: Centre-midfield

Club: Shrewsbury Town

Wales Caps: 43

A Wolves icon, Edwards made over 300 appearances for the club but left after the likes of Ruben Neves started to enter the frame. The 34-year-old joined Reading in 2017 and now appears for Shrewsbury in League One.

Jazz Richards

Position: Right-back

Club: Cardiff City

Wales Caps: 14

Despite playing just once at Euro 2016 Richards got a move back to his home nation from Fulham that same summer, and immediately became embroiled in controversy after allegedly refusing to do the club’s traditional ayatollah gesture during his first match.

He has appeared intermittently for the club over the years, owing partly to injury problems, including just four Premier League appearances last season for Neil Warnock’s side. And that has largely been the case this term, with the 29-year-old mustering just 10 Championship starts. 

Joe Ledley

Position: Centre-midfield

Club: Newcastle Jets

Wales Caps: 77

A Wales stalwart, Ledley did the unimaginable and recovered from a broken leg in just one month to be in place for Euro 2016. He returned to Selhurst Park, but like compatriot Hennessey, he struggled for consistent game time and eventually left for Derby in 2017.

After a solid first season at Pride Park, Ledley appeared just four times under Frank Lampard last campaign, and fared even worse for Charlton this time round, with just one appearance before deciding to cut his teeth in the Australian A-League.

David Cotterill

Position: Winger

Club: Barry Town United

Wales Caps: 24

After appearing at Euro 2016 for Wales Cotterill returned to Birmingham, where he was unquestionably a crowd favourite, but the appointment of Gianfranco Zola in 2016 saw him fall out of favour and the winger eventually left for ATK in the Indian Super League.

He has since returned to his native Wales, turning out for semi-professional club Barry Town United.

Sam Vokes

Position: Striker

Club: Stoke

Wales Caps: 64

Having secured promotion back to the Premier League with Burnley before Euro 2016, Vokes was always in for a good year.

The robust marksman flourished upon his return from France, netting 10 Premier League goals in 2016/17. However, he was unable to replicate that form the following two seasons and left for Stoke in January 2019, where — alongside Allen — he has struggled to rediscover his clinical touch.

James Collins

Position: Centre-back

Club: Unattached

Wales Caps: 51

An excellent season for West Ham before Euro 2016 put Collins in good stead heading into the international tournament but, following the competition, the defender struggled to make much more of an impact for the Hammers.

Fleeting appearances followed for the fan favourite before he left the capital in 2018, signing for Ipswich in January 2019 after a calf injury scuppered his return to Aston Villa. He appeared just six times for the Tractor Boys and left last summer.

Jonny Williams

Position: Attacking-midfield

Club: Charlton

Wales Caps: 21

Often credited as being one of Wales’ most exciting players on the ball, Williams struggled to implement himself at Palace because of recurring injury issues. He eventually left his boyhood club and made the short journey to Charlton in 2019, where he has slowly been trying to rediscover his best form under Lee Bowyer.

Danny Ward

Position: Goalkeeper

Club: Leicester City

Wales Caps: 7

The former Liverpool ‘keeper was chosen to start in Wales’ first Euro 2016 match, the win over Slovakia, due to an injury sustained by Hennessey.

Big things were expected of Ward at Anfield after he played a key role in Huddersfield’s promotion to the Premier League during a loan move, but he ultimately left for Leicester in 2018 for £12.5m, though he is yet to supplant Kasper Schmeichel.

David Vaughan

Position: Centre-midfield

Club: Retired

Wales Caps: 42

A solid, reliable workhorse throughout his playing days, Vaughan closed the book on his 19-year career last summer after last strutting his stuff for Notts County.

Simon Church

Position: Striker

Club: Retired

Wales Caps: 38

Simon Church wasn’t the most relied upon Wales player at Euro 2016 but the forward did get a move following the tournament – to Eredivisie side Roda JC Kerkrade.

The strange transfer doesn’t have a happy ending though as Church played just four league matches before leaving for Scunthorpe and then Plymouth. He retired in 2018 at just 29, owing to a hip injury.