8:11am Wednesday 5th March 2014
By Andrew Penman
WALES boss Chris Coleman has vowed to play star man Gareth Bale for the full 90 minutes in tonight’s friendly against Iceland.
Coleman is in no mood to bow down to the might of Bale’s club Real Madrid and says he will need the world’s most expensive player to play a full part in the match.
The national manager also defended Bale’s record in Spain and insisted that the former Tottenham winger had already made a success of life in La Liga.
“We’re looking at him to play 90 minutes,” said Coleman. “We want to win the game and it will be a good test.
“I was never worried about Baley (pulling out of the squad),” he added. “Nine times out of ten he’s here.
“He was involved in a tough game at the weekend. The Madrid derby was pretty brutal at times and my heart was in my mouth at times but he came through it OK.
He added: “He’s had a bit of criticism with people saying he’s not settled over there but if you look at his stats I think he’s got 14 goals and a dozen assists.
“That’s not bad for your first season considering he had no pre-season. Every time I’ve seen him he’s looked his usual self and I’ve seen 85 per cent of his games.
“He’s a special talent and an athlete and he’s surprised me how quickly he’s adapted to that level.”
Coleman sees tonight’s match as a good test ahead of the Euro 2016 campaign, which starts in September, and he says Iceland are a good example of what Wales can achieve.
“Iceland finished second in their group (in qualifying for Brazil 2014) and they’ll be well organised,” he said.
“They lost out in the play-offs to Croatia, who we know all about, but it goes to show what can be done when you get your best players together.
“I’m excited going into this new campaign. I’m looking forward to it and I know what to expect after these last two years.
“I genuinely believe it’s about us; we’ve got great players and if we get them together enough I believe we’ll be successful.”
Wales will be without Crystal Palace midfielder Joe Ledley for tonight’s Cardiff City Stadium clash.
The former Celtic man is out with a hip injury and he joins Aaron Ramsey and Simon Church in missing out.
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