Wales manager Chris Coleman has dismissed Chris Waddle's suggestion that Gareth Bale should focus his efforts on his club career as “nonsense”.
The Tottenham winger is in red-hot form at the moment, scoring 11 goals in his last 10 games for club and country.
His influence for Wales is arguably even greater than when he pulls on a Spurs shirt; the 23-year-old has scored four of the five goals the Dragons have netted during Coleman's reign to date.
Wales are currently seven points adrift of Group A pacesetters Croatia and Belgium ahead of this month's qualifiers against Scotland and the Croats, and face an uphill battle if they are to end their long wait for a place at a major finals.
Bale's imperious performances have also helped put Spurs in prime position to secure Champions League qualification, and Waddle believes he is more likely to secure success at club level than feature in a major tournament for Wales.
But Coleman was disappointed by the former England and Marseille midfielder's comments.
He said: "Gareth is passionate about playing for Wales. When he's here he gives his best, he's either scoring goals or making goals and obviously loves being here.
"You have people who will come out and say things, and it's surprising someone who has played international football as Chris did for England has come out and said things like that.
"I am sure he was passionate about playing for England, so why is Wales any different?
"Alright, we haven't qualified (for a major finals) since 1958 but we're a small nation and it will always be hard.
"Does that mean we can't be passionate about playing for our country, playing in every game and wanting to win every game?
"Does it mean if we don't qualify it doesn't matter? It's nonsense. Whoever you play for or play against for your country it means something and it does for Gareth."
Coleman was also less than impressed with former Wales midfielder Robbie Savage, who described the 'Battle of Britain' meeting with Scotland as "not a huge game" given how far the sides are off the pace in Group A.
"I can't control what's said outside our camp and I'm not too bothered what's said," added Coleman.
"But I've said before, I've never been involved in a game for Wales where it didn't matter. I was quite surprised by the comments that there's nothing on it - there's always something on it when you play for your country as simple as that, it is in my book.
"It's never nothing in an international game. Against Austria it was a friendly but there was still something on it.
"It's a massive game, huge. We're going there to get points and I will take our strongest side to do it."