Bale trains but won't start

Gareth Bale played a full part in Wales' training session on Monday but won't start against Serbia.

Last Updated: 09/09/13 at 20:17 Post Comment

Gareth Bale played a full part in Wales training following a scan on his groin strain, but won't start Tuesday's World Cup qualifier against Serbia in Cardiff.

A decision over his availability as a substitute will be left as late as possible.

Bale, the world's most expensive player following the completion of his 100million euro move from Tottenham to Real Madrid, was an unused substitute when the Dragons slumped to a 2-1 loss against Macedonia in Skopje.

Manager Chris Coleman had insisted Bale was injured when questioned on his decision not to use him on Friday.

But it was only on Monday that the Wales boss revealed Bale had picked up a groin problem in training at the Philip II Arena on Thursday, and was undergoing a scan on the problem.

Following his scan, Bale was fit enough to take a full part in training with the rest of the Dragons' squad at Cardiff City Stadium.

A Football Association of Wales spokesman said Bale would be assessed to see if he suffers any reaction to the session, with a final decision likely to be taken when Coleman comes to name his matchday squad on Tuesday night.

Coleman had earlier suggested the scan was to assure Bale he would not be putting himself at risk ahead of a potential Real Madrid debut against Villarreal this weekend.

Coleman had said: "We had a conversation with Gareth before the game, he had a tight groin from the day before and we could not take that chance.

"As we speak he has gone to have another scan on it to clear his mind so he knows everything is alright."

Even though Bale now has some chance of taking part in the World Cup qualifier, Coleman admitted there was no chance of the former Spurs man starting the game.

Coleman had said: "He was never going to be available to start either of these games but at best he would have come on for maybe half an hour (on Friday).

"There is a small chance of that tomorrow night, we will see when we get the scan results back and how he feels."

The Wales boss has also been taken aback by the amount of attention having Bale in their midst has placed on the national side.

"I am not used to this to be honest with you. Having a player like that," said Coleman.

"I managed Fulham with some good players but none of them went for £85million.

"I can understand the frenzy that comes with that and I have to get used to that - we all have.

"There are people coming out of the woodwork wanting to see him and have an autograph.

"We have to tighten up on everything and how we look at it.

"But I would rather have that problem than not - it means he is playing for us."

In addition to his concerns over Bale, Coleman has several other selection headaches to deal with.

Crystal Palace midfielder Jonathan Williams has been ruled out after suffering an ankle injury against Macedonia, while centre-half Sam Ricketts is also a major doubt.

Captain Ashley Williams is suspended after picking up a yellow card in Skopje, but no decision has been taken over who will take the armband, although in-form Aaron Ramsey and Craig Bellamy are likely to be the leading contenders.

While defeat on Friday ended any lingering Welsh hopes of qualification for the 2014 World Cup finals, they can still finish third and secure a better seeding when the qualifying groups for an expended Euro 2016 are drawn.

Victory over Serbia would also serve as revenge for the 6-1 hammering Wales suffered in Novi Sad exactly a year ago, a night Coleman describes as one of the worst of his career.

"That was the darkest moment for me in charge of this country and possibly in my managerial career,'' he said.

"It wasn't a good feeling but we have turned a corner since then and have done quite well since.

"They are a good team but it is still there for us to go and finish high in the group.

"It is up to me to keep our guys focused and try and do well.''


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