Fitness boost for Real Madrid superstar Gareth Bale

Phil Blanche 10:45 10/10/2018
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Gareth Bale

Gareth Bale is set to win his fitness battle and play in Wales’ Nations League tie against the Republic of Ireland.

Bale remains doubtful for the Cardiff friendly with Spain on Thursday after coming off in the closing stages of Real Madrid’s La Liga defeat at Alaves last weekend.

The 29-year-old has been troubled by a groin injury in recent weeks, but he trained on Tuesday and the Wales medical staff will continue to monitor his fitness ahead of the Spain game.

Although that clash might be too soon for him, it is understood that Bale is in line to start in Dublin next Tuesday.

If Bale does miss out against Spain, Harry Wilson could be on free-kick duty after his stunning effort at Old Trafford for Derby last month.

The on-loan Liverpool winger scored a spectacular 30-yard effort to earn praise from Anfield boss Jurgen Klopp and a rebuke from his Wales manager and Manchester United great Ryan Giggs.

“He (Klopp) messaged me after the game,” said Wilson, who copied the previous Old Trafford goal celebrations of Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard by holding one hand aloft to show five fingers, referring to Liverpool’s five European cups – compared to United’s three.

“He just said ‘fantastic free-kick, really great football’.

“It’s great to hear from the manager whose team you want to be in in the future.

“He (Giggs) did mention a fine to me when I got into camp, but the celebration was just heat of the moment.

“I practice my free-kicks a lot and spend time with a couple of lads to get that technique.

“I think Gareth is definitely top of the pile when it comes to taking them, and rightly so.

“But if he’s not on the pitch for one reason or another, I’ll be putting my name forward.”

Wilson will also be keeping an eye on England during the international break as he shares a Derby flat with fellow loanee Mason Mount.

The Chelsea youngster earned his first England call-up for the Nations League games against Croatia and Spain despite never having played in the Premier League.

“He’s been great for us all season. He’s scoring, assisting and deserves his call-up,” Wilson said.

“Mason’s a great lad to live with, even if he’s a bit messy and the flat is a bit dirty at the minute!

“We go to the cinema, go shopping, go out for food and we try to do that with a couple of our team-mates as well.

“We’re setting up a Come Dine with Me in Derby. Every other week some people will come to our house and we’ve got to cook for them and try some new recipes.

“My speciality is spaghetti bolognese, and I have to say I’m a better chef than Mason.”

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