Gareth Bale Returns to Wales Squad After Injury

Gareth Bale returned to the Wales squad for their upcoming 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Austria and Moldova, after recovering from injury. The Real Madrid player was included in Chris Coleman’s latest selection, having missed his country’s last three fixtures due to a hamstring strain suffered in early September.

The Welsh are currently second in Group D, level on points with leaders Serbia and only one point clear of third-placed Republic of Ireland. Bale’s presence is sure to provide a boost for the Dragons, who have picked up just two wins in their last nine qualifiers.

Coleman had originally hoped that Bale would be able to return for the 1 October clash with Moldova, but later admitted that it would be “stupid” to take any risks with his star man. The former Tottenham Hotspur winger was subsequently left out of the squad for Wales’ last qualifier against Georgia and stated: I’ve been training well and I’m ready.

Bale was not included in the original squad after picking up an injury during Wales’ 1-1 draw with the Republic of Ireland in June, and has missed his country’s last seven qualifiers in total. I spoke to him and we had a really good chat. He’s raring to go, he’s good enough to play for us and hopefully his performance levels will be as high as they have been, said Coleman after the squad announcement on Monday evening.

Bale has played just 34 minutes of international football under Coleman since the Welshman took the reins from the late Gary Speed in 2012. The Real Madrid winger has been a regular fixture for his club this season, however, despite only featuring as a substitute in one match – due to the absence of Karim Benzema and James Rodríguez – after suffering a pre-season calf injury.

Bale has played 15 times for Wales to date since making his international debut in 2007, scoring seven goals in the process. Coleman’s side are yet to win a World Cup qualifier with but have impressed in Europe – reaching the semi-finals of Euro 2016.

I think we’re a better team with Gareth Bale, no doubt about that, said Coleman ahead of Tuesday’s match in Vienna. He makes everything look so easy and he is the best player in his position. He’s ready now and if it took another week I don’t think it would have made any difference.

Wales will now travel to Vienna for a World Cup qualifier against Austria on Tuesday, before facing Moldova at Cardiff City Stadium four days later. Bale has not featured in Wales’ last two home games – having been suspended for the 1-0 defeat to Serbia in September 2015. The Dragons’ next home match is against Georgia on 31 August.

Last time out, Wales came back from two goals down to draw 2-2 at home against Austria in September.

Coleman’s men are currently second in Group D, level on points with leaders Serbia and only one point clear of third-placed Republic of Ireland. Bale’s presence is sure to provide a boost for the Dragons, who have picked up just two wins in their last nine qualifiers.

Bale was not included in the original squad after picking up an injury during Wales’ 1-1 draw with the Republic of Ireland back in June, and has missed his country’s last seven qualifiers in total. I spoke to him and we had a really good chat. He’s raring to go, he’s good enough to play for us and hopefully his performance levels will be as high as they have been, said Coleman after the squad announcement on Monday evening.