Wales boss Chris Coleman has confirmed that Gareth Bale will not start tomorrow's World Cup qualifier against Serbia tomorrow.
Bale was left among the substitutes during Wales’ 2-1 World Cup qualifier defeat to Macedonia on Friday, and the coach has now confirmed that he will not start the match at the Cardiff City Stadium after being sent for a groin scan after suffering another injury setback.
Welsh fans were unhappy with the decision not to send Bale on as they searched for an equaliser in Skopje, with Coleman confirming after the match that he wasn’t match fit and there was never any intention to play him – with his inclusion an attempt at playing mind games with their opponents.
"We had a conversation with Gareth before the game, he had a tight groin from the day before and we could not take that chance," admitted Coleman earlier today.
"As we speak he has gone to have another scan on it to clear his mind so he knows everything is alright.
"We went into the Macedonia game with everything great.
"Gareth gets his move to Real Madrid, everything is positive. Then Gareth picks up a strain in training and can't play in the game which is disappointing."
He added: "He was never going to be available to start either of these games but at best he would have come on for maybe half an hour.
"There is a small chance of that tomorrow night, we will see when we get the scan results back and how he feels."
Bale hasn’t played a minute of competitive football since Tottenham’s pre-season tour in July, which he has since completed a world-record £86m transfer to Spanish giants Real Madrid.
The 24-year-old is likely to make his debut for Los Meregues next weekend when Carlo Ancelotti’s side take on Villarreal on Saturday, but he could yet play some part in Tuesday’s encounter with Serbia, who sit in third place in Group A two points above Wales.
“I’m not thinking about just one game,” admitted Coleman, claiming that he had a responsibility to keep up relations with club sides in order to have access to his squad in the future.
“I’ve got to look at the bigger picture. When we are selecting the team, we are thinking of sending players back fit and not risking them.
“We have to build long-term relationships and look after players properly. It’s the same for all of them, whether it’s Gareth, Aaron Ramsey or Jack Collison. Will Gareth be ready to start against Serbia? No. Can he play a part? We’ll see.”
Wales are already without suspended captain Ashley Williams after he picked up a yellow card in Macedonia, while midfielder Jonny Williams and defender Sam Ricketts are also doubtful due to picking up injuries in the defeat.
Despite winning just three of his 11 games in charge, Coleman has confirmed that a contract extension to lead the side through to the 2016 European Championships has been agreed.
“The new contract has all been agreed,” admitted Coleman. “We just wanted to get these two games out of the way as they are the most important thing.”
There is some good news though, with Reading forward Hal Robson-Kanu available again after missing the trip to Skopje through suspension. Wales are looking for revenge against Serbia, having succumbed to an embarrassing 6-1 defeat last year.