Gareth Bale will NOT start Wales’ World Cup qualifier against Belgium, boss Robert Page reveals after ‘throwing him in’ win over Belarus – and captain may miss out altogether as he continues recovery from injury
- Gareth Bale had played just 45 minutes in Wales’ 5-1 victory against Belarus
- After two months out with a hamstring injury, the winger trained alone today
- Wales boss Robert Page has revealed Bale will not start the clash with Belgium
- Bale could even miss out altogether and will feel ‘stiff’, Page has also admitted
Gareth Bale will not start Wales’ World Cup qualifier against Belgium on Tuesday – and could miss out altogether.
Bale won his 100th cap in the 5-1 victory over Belarus on Saturday after two months out with a hamstring injury but came off after 45 minutes.
The Wales captain trained on his own away from the main group on Monday.
Gareth Bale will not start Wales’ World Cup qualifier against Belgium, and may miss out entirely
Wales will make a late decision on whether the Real Madrid forward and their record goalscorer makes the bench against the world’s top-ranked team.
Manager Robert Page: ‘He was never going to start against Belgium.
‘We knew that coming into camp. The plan was always for him to get a half in the first game and then come on and maybe have an impact in the second game.’
Bale (R) played 45 minutes in the victory over Belarus as he continues his recovery from injury
On Bale’s recovery following the Belarus game, Page said: ‘He is going to be stiff. He has not played for a couple of months and to throw him in was a big ask from a physical point of view.
‘He’ll recover on his own (on Monday) and we’ll leave it to the last minute to see if he can play minutes. He is getting there, slowly but surely. We will get him back to full fitness.
‘It’s frustrating for him. He made a tremendous effort to get fit for the game and he takes credit for that.’
In the wake of his cameo at the weekend, Bale was savaged as a ‘bad example’ by the press in Spain – who took exception to him playing despite an absence at Real Madrid which stretches back to September.
Wales boss Robert Page admitted Bale will be ‘stiff’ and plans to make a last-minute decision
He has not featured for his club since August 28 against Real Betis and, in El Sanhedrin de Carrusel Deportivo, via AS, Antonio Romero expressed his outrage.
‘His attitude is unpresentable to be the highest paid in Real Madrid. Madrid on June 30 takes a load off their shoulders,’ Romero said. ‘I think he is a bad example in the dressing room and someone in private should sing him forty.
‘It is unfortunate that today he is a starter with the national team after more than two months without playing in Madrid. He is making fun of the badge he defends.’
Fellow broadcaster Miguel Martin Talavera, who was also left infuriated, added: ‘I think that if a player is injured and is out with his team, UEFA should change something there. The biggest misfortune is that he has been injured again.’
Bale has featured more for his country and his club this campaign, leading to anger in Spain
Madrid supporters were enraged after Bale’s notorious, and controversial, flag stunt in 2019
Bale has endured a rocky connection with Madrid supporters. They were left angered by his controversial flag stunt, which saw him pose next to a large message reading ‘Wales. Golf. Madrid. In that order.’
The questionable incident took place in the aftermath of Wales sealing their qualification for Euro 2020, and came at a time when Bale was linked with a move.
Now, however, Wales are guaranteed a World Cup play-off spot in March through their Nations League results.
But Page’s side need at least a point against Belgium to finish second in the group and potentially secure a semi-final tie at home.