WALES

Giggs will still call Bale for Wales despite Real Madrid situation

Despite his lack of fitness being obvious to see against Finland, Wales boss Ryan Giggs intends to continue selecting Gareth Bale for the national team.

Bale situation 'does not change' despite lack of Real Madrid minutes - Giggs

Gareth Bale will continue to be called up by Ryan Giggs for international duty with Wales despite his scant playing time at Real Madrid. The 31-year-old has slipped down the pecking order at Madrid and was taken off at half-time in Wales' 1-0 win over Finland on Thursday as his lack of fitness was evident. Giggs revealed after the match the substitution was planned for Bale, who had played a combined 100 minutes since February prior to the Nations League clash in Helsinki.

"I'm always happy with Gareth" - Giggs

However, the Wales coach is not worried about forward's tribulations at club level and expects an improved display against Bulgaria on Sunday. "With his situation, it doesn't change. I'm always happy with Gareth when he comes here," Giggs said at a pre-match news conference on Saturday. He's great around the camp and is one everyone looks up to. Like anyone else he needs to get more training time and more minutes. I was pleased with Gareth the other night that he was able to get 45 minutes under his belt. He'd only done two or three days' training. Finland are a physical team of giants and made it difficult for us so he'll be all the better for that 45 minutes."

Neco Williams earns first cap

Bale earned cap number 84 for Wales last week on the day that Liverpool right-back Neco Williams made his senior international bow. The youngster came on as a second-half substitute and is now in contention to start against Bulgaria, with Wales looking to make it back-to-back wins in Group B4.

"It was a fantastic debut from Neco," Giggs said. "He came on and gave us real energy and he's shown his quality in training. He's definitely given me a problem [with selection]. It's a good problem to have. We're really happy with Neco and he's in my thoughts with regards to starting."