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SOCCER

Wales coach Rob Page: “I tweak trainning sessions to suit Bale’s needs”

The Wales manager gave an in-depth interview to The Daily Mail, and explained why the Real Madrid forward is key to the national team.

Update:
Soccer Football - World Cup Qualifiers Europe - Wales Training - The Vale Resort, Hensol, Wales, Britain - March 29, 2021  Wales' Gareth Bale during training  Action Images via Reuters/John Sibley
JOHN SIBLEYAction Images via Reuters

All of the mistrust which Gareth Bale stirs when talk turns to his performance levels and attitude with Real Madrid, turns to praise and reverence when it comes to his commitment to the national team. Wales manager Rob Page spoke about Bale’s dedication in an interview with The Daily Mail.

Page defended Bale for the role he plays with Wales and even tailors training sessions to suit the Real Madrid player’s level of form: “Gareth deserves all the credit for making it work with us. TWe have contact before each camp and I ask him what he needs. Same with Aaron Ramsey. I will tweak sessions. If I want to do an attacking session on one day but I don’t have them available, I will do a defensive session instead. When I do the attacking work, I need my two pivotal players there,” he explained.

Page wishes that Bale could enjoy more playing time at Real Madrid, as regular minutes would benefit him whenever he is called for international duty. “When Gareth won his 100th cap last November, he tweaked his calf after 20 minutes. So not playing does catch up with you. It does concern me. Training does not replicate game time, so you have to credit him with the way he somehow manages to do it for us”.

Page, who took over the Wales job in November last year, criticised the way Bale has been treated in Spain and describes him as a normal, good-humoured and open guy who is close to his team mates. “It’s a disgrace,” he said. “What he goes through over there is appalling but that man has mental strength I haven’t seen before. He is just the most positive bloke you will ever meet. I see a lot of Gary Speed in him. I have told him. I would be playing for Watford and Gary as captain of Wales would be there welcoming everyone in to camp. And he would be exactly the same with me as he would be with someone who was playing for Manchester United. Gareth is like that. When Sorba Thomas came in last November for the first time, I think the only time he had ever seen Gareth was when he was playing FIFA on his Xbox. But Gareth is there standing over him talking to him. Sorba’s eyes were like saucers. He was blown away that Gareth had time to spend with him. Gareth is the most normal bloke you will ever meet. We are so lucky to have him”.

World Cup dream

This season, Bale has has played a total of 290 minutes for Real Madrid and 324 for Wales. In June, he and his Wales team mates will be taking on the winner of the play-off between Scotland and Ukraine for a place in history - to lead Wales into their first World Cup finals since Sweden 1958.

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