Coleman: Bale raring to go

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Published: Friday 27th March 2015 by The News Editor

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Wales manager Chris Coleman has noticed no difference in Gareth Bale’s mood ahead of his side’s huge Euro 2016 qualifier in Israel and believes the Real Madrid superstar is ready to perform.

Bale has had to endure a rough ride in Spain of late, with his worth to Real being questioned by both fans and the powerful Madrid media.

The world’s most expensive player has been booed by his own supporters and had his car attacked outside the club’s training ground following last weekend’s Clasico defeat to bitter rivals Barcelona.

But Coleman insists Bale remains relaxed around the Wales camp and the thought of him having a conversation with the forward about his club situation has not even entered his head.

“I cannot see any difference in Baley at all,” Coleman said on the eve of Group B’s top two sides m eeting in Haifa on Saturday night.

“If I thought it was bothering him, and we’re all human beings so I know it can bother you from time to time and you can get a bit down, and it was a problem then I would have sat down with him and had that conversation.

“But we have not mentioned Real Madrid, we have only talked about Wales, Israel and the job in hand.

“He is happy, relaxed and more importantly he is fit and ready to play.”

Bale has been singled out for some rough treatment in the group so far, most noticeably from Cyprus last October, and the 25-year-old could be a marked man again on a night where a hostile atmosphere is expected as group leaders Israel defend their unblemished record against second-placed Wales.

Israel coach Eli Guttman insists his side do not have players “strong enough to kick Bale out of the game” but Coleman remains philosophical about the treatment his star man could receive at the Sammy Ofer Stadium.

“It is up to Israel to do what they want to do,” Coleman said.

“Israel have to do what they have to do to get a result, as do we. But the attention is nothing new for Gareth.

“He has played most of his football in the Premier League and that is the most physically demanding league in the world.

“I’ve also watched him out in Spain come through the Madrid derbies and the Clasico and we know all the focus will be on him.

“But we have a good squad and our strength is our togetherness.

“We are not here because of one player. Gareth is a huge help, but he is part of something that has been growing.”

Wales remain unbeaten after four games but are one point behind Israel, who play their match in hand at home to group favourites Belgium on Tuesday.

Coleman has described the Haifa showdown as Wales’ biggest match since the Euro 2004 play-off defeat to Russia, and admits that failing to make the finals in France in two years’ time would hurt everyone connected with Welsh football.

“I was part of a couple of great Welsh sides that never did it, qualified for a major tournament,” Coleman said.

“I enjoyed the excitement but the disappointment lasts forever.

We have a good current group and we are going in the right direction but we have been here before.

“One foot in the door does not get you there. I do not want to play things down, we have earned this pressure and this is what it is all about.

“But we have to continue to work hard to get to where we want to go and I’m not being arrogant when I say it’s about us and not anyone else.”

Published: Friday 27th March 2015 by The News Editor

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