Wales manager Chris Coleman expects Gareth Bale to be available for friendly

 

Wales manager Chris Coleman fully expects Gareth Bale to be ready and available to play a full part in Wednesday's friendly against Bosnia-Herzegovina.

The Tottenham winger, 23, was yesterday named in Coleman's squad for the clash in Llanelli, Wales' last before their World Cup qualifying campaign gets under way against Belgium next month.

Bale missed Wales' May friendly against Mexico in New York, and was also ruled out of contention for Olympics' selection because of a back problem.

But he came in for criticism after playing for Spurs in pre-season while the Olympics were ongoing.

Bale played for his club in their friendly defeat against Valencia on Thursday, and Coleman does not expect him to be a late withdrawal with the squad set to meet up on Sunday.

"There were a few concerns because he pulled out of Team GB with the same problems he had before we played Mexico, his lower back and hamstrings," said Coleman.

"But he's played three friendlies with Tottenham and done some training so fingers crossed we are going to get him.

"It's an important game for us because it is the last one before Belgium. It's a case of so far, so good."

He added: "Being a high profile player like he is you are always going to come in for a bit of criticism.

"You've got to take that, you'll get pats on the back but there are times when you won't and he is big enough to take that."

With Bale absent, four of the current Wales squad were in action at the Olympics as Aaron Ramsey, Craig Bellamy, Joe Allen and Neil Taylor all featured in the run to the quarter-finals.

Coleman admits he was impressed by their performances, but is pleased that the tournament is over for Stuart Pearce's side; the final of the competition takes place today, just four days before the meeting with Bosnia.

But the former Fulham and Coventry boss, who met his players prior to the final group fixture against Uruguay in Cardiff, hopes there will be a positive side effect for Wales in the match sharpness the quartet have picked up in tournament football.

"They felt fitter because the games are obviously more important than a pre-season friendly," he said.

"So in terms of that we've been quite lucky really and it's worked in our favour.

"It wasn't just injuries we were worried about, we were worried about cards as well because they get carried over.

"As it turned out they will probably be fitter now than they would have been after two or three pre-season friendlies with their clubs.

"They've all had 90 minutes and are in a better shape. It's a bit of a head start for them."

PA

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