herald

Friday 20 April 2018

Bale hails China trip as a positive for Wales

Positive: Gareth Bale
Positive: Gareth Bale

Gareth Bale promised Wales would be ready for the 2020 European Championship campaign after their China Cup disappointment.

Wales had to settle for the runners-up spot in Nanning after Edinson Cavani's second-half strike gave Uruguay a 1-0 victory on Monday.

The two China Cup games were new manager Ryan Giggs' first in charge, and Wales only have a May friendly against Mexico in Pasadena before the serious business of the inaugural League of Nations starts.

Wales are in a group with Denmark and the Republic of Ireland in the autumn, those matches preceding the European Championship qualifiers which start next March.

"Ultimately we're disappointed, we thought they were there for the taking," Bale said.

Wales manager Ryan Giggs
Wales manager Ryan Giggs

"But when the major games come around in the qualifiers we'll be ready.

"It's been important having the new manager in and everybody settling down, getting to know his ways.

"Obviously new players are coming in and there's a lot of positives to take out of it.

"I think it'll stand us in good stead for the future and I'm sure we'll win many more games." Giggs had started his reign with a 6-0 thumping of tournament hosts China, with Bale claiming a hat-trick to become Wales' record goalscorer.

But Uruguay were always going to present a far more formidable test with Cavani and Luis Suarez linking so well at the focal point of their attack.

"They've got midfielders who are very good players who can handle the ball," Giggs said.

"So what we tried to do was not let them play at their own rhythm, try and put pressure on the ball and stop at it source, not get it to Cavani and Suarez because of the quality they possess.

"Sometimes you're not going to do it, and it's about being solid and defending. I thought we did it well.

"Of course, against teams like that you're going to ride your luck but they showed us the utmost respect."

Giggs took the opportunity to blood several youngsters in the second half, and Connor Roberts and Billy Bodin both made debuts.

"I'm really pleased with the depth of the squad," Giggs said.

"You look at Uruguay and they have a lot of quality and depth, perhaps we haven't got that as much as other teams.

"But I'm really happy with a lot of players from this tour, not only in the games but what they've shown in training."

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