Gareth Bale was hailed as the best wide player in the world a couple of seasons ago when he was terrorising defences during Tottenham’s Champions League campaign. He is now nursing a heel injury which could prevent him from being in the starting line up for the home nations World Cup qualifying game against Scotland.
The position Wales are in is made extra difficult considering the side does not have the power, form and results to leave Bale out of the side. Wales are bottom of their group having lost both of their matches so far. They may need to risk Bale as he is one of the only game changing players they have at their disposal which makes his importance almost double when compared with the rest of the squad.
A large part of Bale’s game is based around pace and power and the heels are one of the areas that allow a player to utilise these assets. If Bale goes into the game against Scotland nursing a problem then his appearance could only make things worse and then there will be further complications once the player gets back to Tottenham after the international break as Spurs could accuse the Welsh FA of not looking after their player.
“Gareth Bale came down to the training ground and worked with the physio. We feel he will be OK for Friday. It was just a case of getting him ready. Adam Matthews did the same as Gareth, but we feel they will both be fine,” said Wales assistant manager John Hartson.
In terms of pace there is no one quicker in the Wales team and Scotland would have been discussing many different ways to keep Bale quiet. One of those ways would be to double up on the winger but Bale has showed over the last couple of seasons that he can be just as effective if he has to cut inside to find space. His creativity has developed which means he can play at times as a creative midfield player.
Wales do have a little bit of cover in Celtic’s Joe Ledley but the Celtic wide man is nowhere near the quality of the Spurs star. Ledley does not have the pace to beat a full back down the outside and he does not have the reputation which has the ability to strike a little bit of fear into the opposition when they read a certain name on the team sheet.
If Bale continues to recover throughout the rest of the time before the match with Scotland then Wales could risk him. However, they need to be sure there are no major doubts over his fitness because there will be a storm of epic proportions if it emerges that Wales played him when they knew they really shouldn’t have done.