Transfer news: Wales boss Chris Coleman believes Gareth Bale is yet to reach his best ahead of potential Real Madrid move
Coleman has named Bale in the Wales squad to face the Republic of Ireland next week and insists he is 'only going to get better' regardless of if he stays in the Premier League
Wednesday 07 August 2013
Wales manager Chris Coleman believes that Gareth Bale's best years are still ahead of him as he contemplates a potential world record move to Spanish giants Real Madrid.
But Coleman, who has named the Tottenham star among a 23-man squad for next Wednesday's friendly against the Republic of Ireland, stressed that he will not be getting involved in the ongoing situation.
Madrid are reportedly willing to better the world record fee of £80million they paid for Cristiano Ronaldo four years ago to sign Bale but Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas has said the 24-year-old is not for sale. Speculation, though, remains rife, that Bale will quit the Barclays Premier League.
"I am sure with what is going on in terms of the transfer - there is a lot on Gareth's mind and Tottenham's mind," Coleman said.
"I don't get involved with what is going on with Gareth's transfer. Whatever is going to happen is up to Tottenham and Gareth. We have picked the squad, and he is in it.
"Unless we are told that he is unavailable, we will just do what we've always done, and that is expect him to be there. You have to look at it and say 'ok, there is a lot going on'.
"He is a quality player, whether he is in the Premier League or anywhere else. He is only 24, and he is only going to get better."
"We shouldn't be surprised in football any more. I don't think it is Gareth's fault or a player's fault that a club is willing to pay that type of money as a transfer fee. It is out of the player's hands.
"The money we are talking about is incredible, but that is not Gareth's fault. If clubs are willing to pay huge transfer fees and huge salaries, it is up to the clubs. It is not the player's fault."
Bale is currently nursing an injury, and there would appear to be every chance that he could withdraw ahead of next week's international in Cardiff, yet Coleman remains upbeat.
"When you play football like Gareth does - he is very dynamic, very powerful and unbelievably quick - you are going to pick up niggles," Coleman added.
"It is nothing that we are worried about. If it was serious, then we would have known before now.
"It would be nice to start our strongest XI. The squad I pick isn't always the squad that turns up - there are always pull-outs - and even when we get together, we pick one team, we have two or three days' training before the game and the team changes. That is international management."
The Ireland game offers Coleman a chance to assess his players before they resume their World Cup qualifying campaign away against Macedonia early next month.
Wales, though, are currently off the pace in Pool A, lying 13 points behind leaders Belgium and 10 adrift of second-placed Croatia.
Coleman has selected a strong squad for the Ireland fixture, which comes just three days before the new Barclays Premier League season starts, with places for the likes of Swansea defenders Ashley Williams, Neil Taylor and Ben Davies.
Cardiff City's 34-year-old striker Craig Bellamy is also included, along with Liverpool midfielder Joe Allen, Arsenal's Aaron Ramsey, Celtic's Joe Ledley and Wolves goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey.
Bellamy, who has won 73 caps and scored 19 goals for Wales, is thought likely to step down from international football when the current World Cup qualifying campaign ends in October.
Hennessey, meanwhile, was out for 16 months after suffering two cruciate knee ligament injuries, and Coleman said: "Wayne has worked hard.
"To have the injury he had once is tough, to do it twice it is even harder to get back, but he has been in great form.
"Physically, he is in the best shape he has ever been in, I am told, and it is nice for us to have him back. We haven't had him for the past 18 months."
The Football Association of Wales today announced a four-year sponsorship extension with Vauxhall Motors.
The sponsorship, which began in early 2011, will now run until July 2018.
FAW chief executive Jonathan Ford said: "There is an optimism surrounding the future of Welsh football, and we are delighted that Vauxhall will be an integral part of it."
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