Thursday, 24 March 2011


Tottenham winger Gareth Bale has reportedly been ruled out of Wales' Euro 2012 qualifier against England on Saturday with a hamstring injury.

Bale will return to London for treatment on Thursday morning, according to The Sun. It is not yet clear whether he will be fit in time for Tottenham's Champions League quarter-final first leg against Real Madrid on April 5.

Bale reportedly pulled up hurt in a Wales training session on Wednesday. He has only recently returned from a back injury that kept him out for six weeks from the end of January until early March.

The loss of flying winger Bale, now considered one of European football's most potent threats when on top form, is a blow for a Wales side hoping to upset their near-neighbours at Millennium Stadium.

England and Tottenham striker Peter Crouch had only spoken on Wednesday of the need to stop his club team-mate if England were to find success in Cardiff.

Crouch said: "Wales' biggest threat is Gareth Bale. We only assess opponents on Thursday and Friday, look at videos and I'm sure Gareth will be prominent in a lot of those videos.''

Although Crouch did not know at the time that Bale might not play, his appraisal of his former Liverpool team-mate, Cardiff's on-loan forward Craig Bellamy hints at where Wales might now turn for attacking inspiration.

He said: "Craig is a good lad. He gets a lot of stick but he only wants to win. When you see him from afar, you see him shouting at refs and shouting at anyone who will listen. But the only reason he's like that is he wants to win. I remember when he was at Liverpool him shouting and screaming at me during one training session. Afterwards I pulled him and said 'what's that about?' and he said 'I forgot'.

"He doesn't know he does it, he just says 'that's the way I play and I have to shout to get myself geed up for a game' and that's fully understandable. All the talk will be about Gareth Bale but Bellamy is certainly a player we have to watch out for.''

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