herald

Monday 24 April 2017

Wales are hopeful as Bale's back

Dragons' star makes scoring return

Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale celebrates after scoring against Espanyol on his return from injury. Pic: Reuters
Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale celebrates after scoring against Espanyol on his return from injury. Pic: Reuters

Zinedine Zidane is happy that the "special one" Gareth Bale is back in action following injury and now the Wales camp are keeping their fingers crossed that their talisman has no setbacks ahead of next month's World Cup tie in Dublin.

Wales come to Lansdowne Road in 32 days' time for a qualifier which Chris Coleman's side, already four points behind Ireland in the Group D table, cannot afford to lose. When Bale suffered an ankle injury in November which needed surgery there were fears that the 27-year-old could miss out.

But he reappeared in the Real Madrid side for their weekend win over Espanyol, Bale scoring in a 2-0 win minutes after coming off the bench.

Zidane gladly welcomed the Wales man back to the fold. "I'm happy to have him back. He was eager to get back playing again," said the Real boss.

"When he came on, I told him to go out and enjoy himself, that was all I said, we'd discussed his position previously.

"He's a key player and we're all happy, especially the player himself. Gareth is Gareth. We've only got one Gareth Bale."

Coleman and the Welsh FA have remained in constant contact with Bale's club in his absence and they hope for no problems.

"We're crossing our fingers that there will not be any set-backs," said Coleman's assistant Osian Roberts.

"We see with players coming back from injuries we've seen it with Manchester City's star Vincent Kompany this season.

"A member of the Real Madrid's medical staff also works with us at Wales. From talking to him, they've been careful and done what is right for Gareth and what is right for the long-term so in theory there will be no setbacks.

"There is nothing sadder for me than to see a player who is coming back from injury and gets injured straight away afterwards. It's mentally difficult for players to take.

"We're crossing our fingers that Gareth Bale can carry on so he can get to enjoying his football again".

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