Wales boss Chris Coleman considering striker role for Gareth Bale

Wales take on Austria tonight

Gareth Bale is set to feature in his familiar wing role for Wales against Austria tonight, but manager Chris Coleman is prepared to field the Tottenham man as a striker in a bid to end a chronic goal shortage.

Bale, 23, has been in sensational form of late, scoring stunning goals in his last two club outings against Norwich and West Brom.

His scoring exploits have been such that Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas has himself considered moving Bale up front, with Jermain Defoe and Emmanuel Adebayor currently unavailable.

He is also the only player to have scored for Wales in the seven games since Coleman was named as Gary Speed's successor, scoring a consolation in the 6-1 hammering in Serbia, and a crucial double in the 2-1 win over Scotland.

And Coleman said: "Gareth will not start up front against Austria, but it is something I'm actively considering for the future.

"You have to score goals to win matches and it's a role he could perform, without any shadow of a doubt.

"He could even perform the role of a false nine, so to speak, the system Spain have used, and Barcelona also play that way from time to time with Lionel Messi.

"Could I see Gareth doing that for us, too? Yes I could."

Wherever Bale plays, Austria manager Marcel Koller is well aware of the threat he poses.

He said: "Bale is the key player for Wales, especially in terms of his offensive play. We have to work together to try and stop him, rather than having one player man-marking him.

"He is extremely fast and has very good technique."

While Bale faces the Austrians high on confidence, his international colleague Joe Allen is hoping he can start to turn around a dip in form.

The 22-year-old midfielder enjoyed an impressive start to life at Liverpool after completing his £15million summer move from Swansea.

But a failure to maintain those high standards has seen the Welshman relegated to a place on the bench in recent weeks.

Allen is honest enough to admit some of the flak that has come his way as a result has been justified, but is hoping to bounce back when he wins his 13th cap at the Liberty Stadium.

He said: "Everyone knows my form hasn't been great. That goes without saying. It's been disappointing not to have been involved in every game and play every game.

"But it's up to me now to work hard and get myself back in the team and improve my level of performance.

"It happens to everyone in football. We all have highs and lows. But I'm excited and looking forward to turning that around at some stage in the near future.

"I'm delighted to be back with the Wales squad, I am looking forward to hopefully being involved on Wednesday and I will try to put in a good performance if I do play."

PA

News
Russia Today’s new UK channel began broadcasting yesterday. Discussions so far have included why Britons see Russia as ‘the bad guy’
news

New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain

Voices
Left: An illustration of the original Jim Crowe, played by TD Rice Right: A Couple dressed as Ray and Janay Rice
voices

By performing as African Americans or Indians, white people get to play act a kind of 'imaginary liberation', writes Michael Mark Cohen

News
John Moore inspired this Coca Cola Christmas advert
people

News
people

Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes