Wales coach Page not worried about Bale ahead of World Cup

Nov 8, 2022, 10:05 PM | Updated: Nov 9, 2022, 12:07 pm
FILE - Wales' Gareth Bale reacts after the UEFA Nations League soccer match between Wales and Polan...

FILE - Wales' Gareth Bale reacts after the UEFA Nations League soccer match between Wales and Poland at the Cardiff City Stadium in Cardiff, Wales, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, File)

(AP Photo/Frank Augstein, File)

MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Wales head coach Robert Page has dismissed concerns about Gareth Bale’s fitness after including the former Real Madrid forward in his World Cup squad on Wednesday.

Bale will captain his country in Qatar, which is the first time it has qualified for the tournament since 1958.

Bale is Wales’ biggest hope, despite enduring an injury-disrupted season in MLS with Los Angeles FC.

He scored in LA’s MLS Cup win last week and has since returned to his homeland in preparation for the competition.

“Has he played as many minutes as we’d like? Probably not,” Page said. “But that doesn’t worry me. He’s proved time and time again when he puts the Welsh jersey on, irrespective of how many minutes he’s played at domestic level, he’s always produced.

“On big occasions he’ll always turn up, thrive, and enjoy it. No question about that. He’ll have an effect on the game straight away and when opposing managers see his name on the team sheet they’ll know. It’s the power that people like Gareth have because they always deliver.”

Wales has been drawn in Group B with England, the United States and Iran.

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Wales squad:

Goalkeepers: Wayne Hennessey (Nottingham Forest), Danny Ward (Leicester), Adam Davies (Sheffield United)

Defenders: Ben Davies (Tottenham), Ben Cabango (Swansea), Tom Lockyer (Luton Town), Joe Rodon (Rennes), Chris Mepham (Bournemouth), Ethan Ampadu (Spezia), Chris Gunter (AFC Wimbledon), Neco Williams (Nottingham Forest), Connor Roberts (Burnley)

Midfielders: Sorba Thomas (Huddersfield), Joe Allen (Swansea), Matt Smith (MK Dons), Dylan Levitt (Dundee United), Harry Wilson (Fulham), Joe Morrell (Portsmouth), Jonny Williams (Swindon), Aaron Ramsey (Nice), Rubin Colwill (Cardiff)

Forwards: Gareth Bale (Los Angeles FC), Kieffer Moore (Bournemouth), Mark Harris (Cardiff), Brennan Johnson (Nottingham Forest), Dan James (Fulham)

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AP World Cup coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/world-cup and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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James Robson is at https://twitter.com/jamesalanrobson

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Wales coach Page not worried about Bale ahead of World Cup