World Cup news

Coleman: Wales won't risk Bale

March 24, 2013
By ESPN staff

Tottenham have been given the assurance that Gareth Bale won't be risked for Wales' World Cup qualifier against Croatia if he isn't fully fit.

Gareth Bale is a doubt for Wales' World Cup qualifier against Croatia
GettyImagesGareth Bale is a doubt for Wales' World Cup qualifier against Croatia

Bale, 23, started the 2-1 victory against Scotland but was forced off with an ankle injury at half time. However, he later claimed he was confident of returning for the game against Croatia on Tuesday.

But Wales coach Chris Coleman is unsure, and has told Tottenham that he will be fair to them.

"We only had Gareth for 45 minutes - and albeit a jaded Gareth Bale," he said. "He's been ill and had a knock on his ankle, but he wanted to play. He said he felt fine so that's why we started him. He had another knock after 30-35 minutes on the same ankle, so we had to bring him off.

"I don't know if he will be okay. I'm not sitting on the fence, but the next 24 hours will be crucial. All we can do is wrap him up in cotton wool. If he is not ready, then we can't risk him.

"We won't because we have to be fair to Tottenham. They never stand in his way and he always comes along. Gareth likes to come, but we have to look after him."