Real Madrid star Gareth Bale ‘raring to go’ for Wales in Euro 2020 qualifier

Press Association Sport 18:29 05/09/2019
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Gareth Bale says he feels more settled and is “raring to go” for Wales on Friday.

Ryan Giggs’ team take on Azerbaijan on Friday in a European Championship qualifying match.

Bale looked set to leave Real Madrid for a big-money move to China this summer, only for the Spanish giants to pull the plug at the last moment.

The 30-year-old  ended a scoring drought stretching back to March 16 with two goals in the 2-2 LaLiga draw at Villarreal on Sunday, although he did blot his copybook by being dismissed in stoppage time.

Bale told a press conference: “The transfer window has closed. I don’t think mentally it affected me but I had not played for four to six weeks.

“It was nice to be back on the scoresheet (for Real Madrid) and now I am fit and raring to go.”

Real team-mate Thibaut Courtois suggested in an interview that Bale is generally isolated from the squad and would rather play golf on the weekend than bond with the team.

That earned him the nickname ‘The Golfer’, but Bale is happy with the moniker, adding: “I am a golfer. People make a lot of it, but I enjoy it and it keeps me calmer on the pitch.”

The Wales forward claimed not being picked by Harry Redknapp at Spurs “for a year” was a harder time in his career.

He said: “I just kept my head down and worked hard in training. If you want answers you maybe need to ask Real Madrid.”

Wales struggled to impress against Croatia and Hungary in the summer. They trail group leaders Hungary by six points, albeit with a game in hand, and are three adrift of Croatia and Slovakia in the race for a top-two spot.

Bale added: “We know what we need to do. It was disappointing what happened in the summer but we have the chance to put it right.”

Gareth Bale and Ryan Giggs

Gareth Bale and Ryan Giggs

Giggs was pleased with Bale’s contribution on Sunday and said: “When he scores he tends to get on a roll.”

However, the boss revealed that Ben Woodburn is likely to be missing against Azerbaijan.

The Liverpool forward, currently on loan at Sky Bet League One side Oxford, is struggling with a bug.

However, Giggs confirmed that the rest of his squad are fit and available – including Daniel James.

Manchester United’s summer signing from Swansea has scored three goals in four appearances for the club so far this season.

Former United winger Giggs has not been surprised by James’ start to life at Old Trafford.

“He’s at the right club – a club which loves wingers,” Giggs said. “We’ve all seen what he’s capable of in the last eight or nine months and he’s going to get better and better.”

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