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Wales boss Chris Coleman plays down Gareth Bale issue

Updated: Tuesday, 13 Aug 2013 16:03 | Comments

Gareth Bale will miss Wales' clash with Ireland
Gareth Bale will miss Wales' clash with Ireland

Wales boss Chris Coleman insists the attention surrounding Gareth Bale has not been a distraction ahead of Wednesday's friendly against the Republic of Ireland.

All the build-up to the Cardiff City Stadium clash has focused on the Tottenham winger, with Real Madrid reportedly ready to pay a world record transfer fee of up to £105million to secure his services.

Wales' open training on Monday in Newport was attended by a far greater number of fans and media than usual, with members of the Spanish press also in attendance.

The 24-year-old eventually trained on his own, and he will not feature against the Republic due to a foot injury.

Coleman faced plenty of further questions on Bale this afternoon, but insists he and his players remain firmly focused on the task in hand.

"We've had a few more people here than usual - at training there were a lot of people there, I thought we had arrived at the wrong venue," he said.

"There was all the hype surrounding Gareth and whether he will move or not, so there were a lot of people there who would not normally be there.

"But we have just got on with our work, we have to concentrate and he trained alone anyway so we just got on with our own preparations."

But Coleman was keen to point out that the final decision over Bale's lack of availability for the fixture was down to Wales, and not Tottenham.

He said: "Looking at his history over the last two or three weeks his workload has not been good at all.

"So for him to go into an international against a tough team like Ireland would be dangerous. We respect Tottenham and have a good relationship with them and we decided before he got here that it was too much of a risk.

"We are not here to get in the way, but if he had a chance of playing tomorrow he would have played.

"It would not have been in the back of my mind - if he had played and anything happened - that he was on the verge of a big move. My job is to win games with Wales.

"I haven't thought twice about his move. He is not playing because physically he is not ready, not because he is not mentally ready."

He added: "The players don't belong to us, they belong to the clubs.

"I cannot say to Gareth whether he should or should not move, wherever he plays he will be a superb player. He has always turned up for us and I don't expect that to change."

Wednesday's meeting with the Republic comes ahead of World Cup qualifiers against Macedonia and Serbia next month.

Welsh hopes of advancing from Group A are effectively over, but Coleman knows a strong run of form over the next few months will boost hopes ahead of qualifying for an expanded Euro 2016.

He said: "In our current group the top two seeds are first and second. We were sixth seeds coming in but there was pressure on us to qualify, but that's how it is.

"We now have to top the rest of the group. If we finish third we have made a a lot of ground and it puts us in a good position for the Euros.

"It would mean we would have a kinder group in the Euros, rather than the group we have now which is extremely difficult.

"That means tomorrow night and in the four remaining qualifiers we have to perform and win, we have to aim for that."

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