Bale will not start against Belgium, confirms Wales boss Page

Date published: Monday 15th November 2021 3:18 - News Desk

Gareth Bale applauds the fans after a match

Wales manager Rob Page has confirmed that Gareth Bale will not start in Tuesday’s World Cup qualifier against Belgium.

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.

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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.

Page said: “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.”

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.”

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 above the Czech Republic and potentially secure a semi-final tie at home.

Wales are without the banned Ethan Ampadu but welcome back Kieffer Moore, who missed the Belarus win through suspension.

Elsewhere, Danny Mills claims that Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has “exposed” Aaron Wan-Bissaka by playing three at the back.

“He’s always been a decent defender one-on-one, but he’s never been massively comfortable on the ball,” Mills told Football Insider.

“It puts him in a position where you have to be better on the ball than defending one-on-one.

“You’ve put him in a position to expose his weakness rather than to exploit his strengths.

“That’s not particularly good management. You’re asking a player to do what he’s not very good at.”

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