‘Injured’ Bale named in Wales squad
CARDIFF — Gareth Bale has been named in the Wales squad for next week’s friendly against the Republic of Ireland in Cardiff.
The Tottenham Hotspur player is currently the subject of intense speculation surrounding a possible big-money move to Spanish giants Real Madrid, and has also been battling to overcome a niggling injury.
The Wales manager Chris Coleman’s 23-man squad also includes the Cardiff City striker Craig Bellamy and the Wolverhampton Wanderers goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey. The latter missed the majority of last season after twice suffering cruciate knee ligament injuries.
Next Wednesday’s game offers Coleman a chance to assess his players before they resume their World Cup qualifying campaign away against Macedonia early next month.
Wales, though, are currently off the pace in Pool A, lying 13 points behind the leaders Belgium and 10 adrift of second-placed Croatia.
Reflecting on Bale’s current situation, Coleman said: “I am sure with what is going on in terms of the transfer, there is a lot on his mind and Tottenham’s mind. Unless we are told that he is unavailable, we will just do what we’ve always done, and that is expect him to be there. You have to look at it and say: ‘OK, there is a lot going on.’
“I don’t get involved with what is going on with Gareth’s transfer. Whatever is going to happen is up to Tottenham and Gareth. We have picked the squad, and he is in it.
“When you play football like he does — he is very dynamic, very powerful and unbelievably quick — you are going to pick up niggles, nothing major. It is nothing that we are worried about. If it was serious, then we would have known before now.”
Coleman has selected a strong squad for the Ireland fixture, which comes just three days before the new Premier League season kicks off. There are also places for the Swansea City defenders Ashley Williams and Neil Taylor, the Liverpool midfielder Joe Allen, Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey and Celtic’s Joe Ledley. THE GUARDIAN