Gareth Bale insists he is ‘ready to start’ for Wales in their Nations League ‘Cup Final’ against Poland despite not playing a full game for over a year<!– <!– <!– <!– <!– <!–
Gareth Bale is fit and ready to play for Wales in their Nations League ‘Cup Final’ against Poland on Sunday, but does not yet know if Rob Page will pick him to start.
Page introduced his captaincy from the bench in the 2-1 defeat in Belgium on Thursday and must now decide whether to fit into his best starting XI for a game Wales must win to go one better than England and keep firmly in their League A status.
To do so they must beat the Poles at Cardiff City Stadium and Page says he will put the World Cup at the back of his mind and go all out to win to maintain Wales’ top flight status.
Wales boss Rob Page watches Gareth Bale during a training session on Saturday
The question is, does he back Bale’s fitness claims and send him on from the start, or does he hold him back until later in the game?
Bale has not completed a full game for anyone since 8 September 2021, although he did manage 90 minutes and 83 minutes respectively in the important World Cup qualifiers over Austria and Ukraine earlier this year.
– It’s a sensible approach with Gareth, because he hasn’t played that many minutes with his club. He did really well for me when he came on in Belgium and he’s put himself in a position to start for us on Sunday,’ Page said.
‘He’s in a good place at the moment and we’re talking directly to him about his fitness because he knows his body inside out. This is a game we will go all out to win and there won’t be too many surprises in the selection.’
The 33-year-old forward has not played a full game since last September
Bale said he felt much better at the end of the week after catching up on some sleep after his long flight from Los Angeles, where he is currently playing.
He certainly didn’t lose sleep over England’s defeat in Italy on Friday night – ‘I didn’t watch because I really wasn’t that bothered about it’ – and says it is now up to Page to decide how he adapts tonight .
‘I’m ready to start if the manager chooses me, but it’s the manager’s decision, not mine. I’m closer to full fitness now than I’ve been in the last few years,” Bale said.
‘Hopefully I can start to peak and get fitter with the more minutes I play.’