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 be left out of the starting XI as Wales take on the world’s No 1 team Belgium in Cardiff on Tuesday night.
The Real Madrid star is still regaining full fitness after playing his first game for more than two months in the 5-1 thrashing of Belarus on Saturday, training alone on Monday.
And boss Rob Page confirmed Bale – who won his 100th cap against Belarus – was not in contention to play from the off against Belgium, as Wales seek the point that will guarantee second place in the group – and possibly a home tie in March’s World Cup play-offs.
Gareth Bale will not start Wales’ World Cup qualifier against Belgium, and may miss out entirely
‘He has not played for a couple of months and to throw him in was a big ask from a physical point of view,’ said Page. ‘We will leave it ot he last minute to see if he can play.
‘He was never going to start against Belgium. The plan was always for him to get a half in the first game and then come on and make an impact in the second game.
‘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 Belarus game.’
Wales are trying to reach the World Cup for only the second time in their history, and the first time since 1958.
Bale has said that qualifying for Qatar 2022 would crown his career as a Wales player, after he helped them reach the semi-finals at Euro 2016 and also led them to qualification for Euro 2020.
Bale (right) played 45 minutes in the win over Belarus as he continues his recovery from injury
Wales beat Belgium six years ago en route to Euro 2016 and then memorably did so again in the quarter-finals of the tournament.
Midfielder Aaron Ramsey added: ‘We’ve had some good games against Belgium over years, home and away.
‘We all know the quality they have in their team. They have the ability to turn a game on its head, produce a bit of magic. We’ll have to be right on it.’
Wales boss Robert Page admitted Bale will be ‘stiff’ and plans to make a last-minute decision
Bale has featured more for his country and his club this campaign, leading to anger in Spain