Bale's lack of minutes no concern for Page as Wales name World Cup squad

By Sports Desk November 09, 2022 522

Gareth Bale's lack of playing time is of no concern for Rob Page, who has backed the Los Angeles FC forward to leave his mark for Wales at the World Cup.

Former Real Madrid star Bale was named as part of Page's 26-man squad on Wednesday that will travel to Qatar for just Wales' second ever participation in the tournament.

The 33-year-old has managed only two starts for LAFC since joining from Madrid in July and has accumulated just 370 minutes on the field.

Bale has made his impact felt, though, having scored an extra-time equaliser from the substitutes' bench in Saturday's 3-3 draw with Philadelphia Union in the MLS Cup final.

Speaking after that match, which LAFC won on penalties for their first title, Bale said he is "not 100-per-cent fit" heading into Qatar 2022.

But having played an integral role in Wales' qualifying campaign, with winning strikes in the play-off wins over Austria and Ukraine, Page is confident he will play a big part again.

"Ideally would we want him to play more minutes? Of course. Am I worried? No," Page told reporters. 

"He's shown time and time again that irrespective of how many minutes he's played at club level he always comes in and has important moments in the game.

"Big players step up for big occasions. We've said it with Aaron [Ramsey] in the past – Hungary at home when he got two goals for us – and it's no different with Gareth.

"Opposing managers will look at the team sheet and if they see his name they know at any moment he can win a game for you."

Bale captains a squad that has no surprising inclusions or omissions, with Ramsey and Joe Allen also included, despite the latter being considered a major fitness doubt.

Rhys Norrington-Davies misses out with a hamstring issues, meaning a recall for Tom Lockyer, while forward Tyler Roberts also misses the cut due to a calf issue.

Wales face the United States in their opening Group B match on November 21, before taking on Iran and England.

Wales squad: Adam Davies (Sheffield United), Wayne Hennessey (Nottingham Forest), Danny Ward (Leicester City); Ethan Ampadu (Spezia, on loan from Chelsea), Ben Cabango (Swansea City), Ben Davies (Tottenham Hotspur), Chris Gunter (Wimbledon), Tom Lockyer (Luton Town), Chris Mepham (Bournemouth), Connor Roberts (Burnley), Joe Rodon (Rennes, on loan from Tottenham Hotspur), Neco Williams (Nottingham Forest); Joe Allen (Swansea City), Rubin Colwill (Cardiff City), Dylan Levitt (Dundee United), Joe Morrell (Portsmouth), Aaron Ramsey (Nice), Matthew Smith (Milton Keynes Dons), Sorba Thomas (Huddersfield Town), Jonny Williams (Swindon Town), Harry Wilson (Fulham); Gareth Bale (Los Angeles FC), Mark Harris (Cardiff City), Dan James (Fulham, on loan from Leeds United), Brennan Johnson (Nottingham Forest), Kieffer Moore (Bournemouth).

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Last modified on Wednesday, 09 November 2022 16:21
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