Gareth Bale in Wales squad despite calf injury
The winger is having tests after limping off in Real Madrid’s win over Borussia Dortmund
Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane shakes hands with Gareth Bale after he was substituted off in their Champions League win over Borussia Dortmund. Photo: Wolfgang Rattay/Reuters
Real Madrid star Gareth Bale is having tests to determine the extent of the calf injury he sustained in Tuesday night’s Champions League win over Borussia Dortmund, but the 28-year-old looks to be still on track to feature in the potential make-or-break World Cup qualifier between Wales and the Republic of Ireland on October 9th.
Bale, who has endured significant problems with his calf on a number of previous occasions, limped out of the game in Germany shortly before the end and manager Zinedine Zidane confirmed that: “Gareth felt something small in his calf,” although, he insisted, “it was nothing important.”
It has been reported since, however, that the former Tottenham star is having scans to better assess the seriousness of the situation and it is may be a day or two before it become clear whether he will be seen as fit enough to start Sunday’s league game against Espanyol.
He has, however, been included in the strong Wales squad Chris Coleman has named for his side’s games against Georgia and the Republic of Ireland with a couple of slightly second string defenders missing defenders but all the team’s key players looking likely to be involveed in the games.
Aaron Ramsey – who has been allowed to miss Arsenal’s trip for Belarus in order to concentrate on preparing for Sunday’s game against Brighton – has been playing regularly for his club of late while Joe Ledley scored on his debut for Derby on Tuesday evening, having recently joined the Championship club after a brief spell without a club.
“Gareth and Rambo are in great form and that’s great news for us,” said Coleman, who is without Jazz Richards or James Collins for the two games, as he named his 23-man squad on Thursday. “It’s important both players are playing so well.”
The manager also included five uncapped players including 17-year-old Ethan Ampadu, the son of former Republic of Ireland under-21 international Kwame, who made his debut for the Londoners in the League Cup last week, and David Brooks, a 20-year-old Sheffield United forward who did well for England at this summer’s Toulon tournament before confirming his intention to play for Wales.
Coleman’s men lead Ireland by a point in the race for second place in Group D and have a significantly better goal difference but look to have a trickier game to negotiate – Georgia away as opposed to Moldova at home – before the sides meet in what could well be a showdown for second place in Cardiff on Monday week.
With Serbia on the verge of clinching top spot and the automatic qualifying place that goes with it, second place would mean the chance of a playoff spot although neither side would be guaranteed making next month’s draw as both face the possibility of finishing last in the rankings of the nine runners up and so missing out.
Wales squad for final two World Cup qualifiers (v Georgia and Ireland)
Goalkeepers: Wayne Hennessey, Danny Ward, Chris Maxwell
Defenders: Ben Davies, James Chester, Neil Taylor, Chris Gunter, Tom Lockyer, Ashley Williams, Ethan Ampadu
Midfielders: Joe Allen, David Edwards, Andy King, Joe Ledley, Aaron Ramsey, Jonathan Williams, David Brooks
Forwards: Gareth Bale, Marley Watkins, Hal Robson-Kanu, Sam Vokes, Tom Lawrence, Ben Woodburn.