This wouldn’t be news of the latest Real Madrid Galactico had seen time this year for either the Merengues or Tottenham Hotspur, but since Gareth Bale has yet to play a minute with either his current or former team, the possibility of him stepping onto the pitch Tuesday against Serbia is worth note.
Out for the season’s first three weeks with a foot problem, Bale was also unable to appear in Wales’ August friendly against Ireland. He also missed Friday’s World Cup Qualifier at Macedonia. Yet ahead of Tuesday’s visit from Serbia at Cardiff City Stadium, Wales manager Chris Coleman refuses to rule the 24-year-old out.
From The Guardian (linked, above):
“I’m not thinking about just one game … I’ve got to look at the bigger picture. When we are selecting the team we are thinking of sending players back fit and not risking them. We have to build long-term relationships. It’s the same for all of them, whether it’s Gareth, Aaron Ramsey or Jack Collison. Will Gareth start against Serbia? No. Can he play a part? We’ll see.”
We’ll also see if you’re just keeping the possibility alive to maintain interest. It wasn’t so long ago (February) that Wales was drawing only 8,202 for a home qualifier against Austria. Since, they’ve had over 25,000 show up for Scotland and another 12,500 come to see Croatia.
With neither Wales nor Serbia in contention to qualify for Brazil 2014, will people show up? Bale potentially playing makes it more likely.
But the fact that this is a meaningless game does call into question whether Coleman should risk Bale. It’s something the former Wales international undoubtedly has on his mind.
If there is any risk, Bale’s unlikely to play. At a minimum, the player will have a huge say as to how much he’s exposed.
Although Coleman’s leaving the possibility of Bale playing open, it’s unlikely the Real Madrid winger will be pressed into serious action. If he plays at all, it will likely be a late cameo, one where Bale can justify steering clear of trouble.