Ryan Giggs Says Gareth Bale’s Madrid Misery Is No Worry For Wales

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Graham Thomas

Graham is a well known sports writer in Wales. He shares with the Eye stories on his other blog at http://www.dai-sport.com
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Ryan Giggs insists it matters little to him – or Wales – if Gareth Bale’s Spanish adventure ends this summer and he returns to the Premier League.

The future of Wales’ biggest star, and still their most important player, is unclear after his season ended in rejection at Real Madrid.

But as Giggs named Bale in his squad for the Euro 2020 qualifiers against Croatia and Hungary on June 8 and 11, the manager stressed that the uncertainty over his talisman will not affect the team’s campaign.

Giggs’ predecessor Chris Coleman always maintained that Bale was better off in Madrid than at home – citing the less intense nature of La Liga compared to the Premier League as evidence that the 29-year-old was better off in Spanish football when it came to helping to national cause.

But as the former Tottenham player continues to be linked with a move away from the Bernabeu after an alleged falling out with Zinedine Zidane – following reports that the Real manager admitted Bale was not part of his plans for next season – Giggs is umoved.

Manchester United and Spurs are two clubs who are thought to be interested in Bale’s signature but Giggs said: “He’s at a great club.

“I don’t get myself involved with what’s happening at club level – all I am worried about and focused on is getting Gareth firing for these qualifying games in June.

“He’s shown the world that he is a world-class player, whether he is in Spain or somewhere else, my focus is on whether he can turn up fit like he did last week.”

While Bale is fit, Tottenham defender Ben Davies heads into the Champions League final facing the prospect of summer surgery and will sit out Wales’ qualifiers.

Giggs revealed Davies has been troubled by a groin issue this season but he has battled on with Spurs’ historic campaign ending in Saturday’s European showpiece occasion against Liverpool in Madrid.

“Ben has had an issue with his groin throughout the season,” Giggs said as he named a 28-man squad also without injured Juventus-bound midfielder Aaron Ramsey.

“I left Ben out of the squad back in November (friendly against Albania) to give him a bit of a rest because he’s played a lot of football.

“It was more of a fatigue element, but Tottenham have done so well this season he’s needed to play.

“He can play, he can get away with it. But it’s more about him getting it right.

“He’s not happy with it and he’s got a huge game this weekend. After that game he’s going to see the specialist and get it right for next season.

“It’s important for me and Tottenham that he sorts it. He’s fit to play on Saturday, but we talked and he’s not quite happy with it.

“He’s just been getting through the games, but he’s not 100 per cent and he wants to get it sorted.”

Ramsey’s absence was expected as the midfielder has not played since damaging a hamstring against Napoli on April 18.

The 28-year-old did not travel to Azerbaijan for Arsenal’s Europa League final against Chelsea, but Giggs expects him to be available for the start of Juventus’ pre-season training.

Chelsea midfielder Ethan Ampadu returns after a back problem.

Swansea winger Daniel James, who has been strongly linked with a £15 million move to Manchester United, also features in the squad following the death of his father, Kevan.

James missed Wales’ training camp in Portugal last week after being granted compassionate leave, but Giggs said it was the 21-year-old’s choice to be included in a party that sees surprise call-ups for Barnsley pair Ben Williams and Kieffer Moore and Swansea defender Joe Rodon.

“Obviously it’s terrible what has happened,” Giggs said.

“I spoke to Dan, he is really keen to meet up, he is really keen to be involved in the games.

“He rang me, he wants to be involved, he wants to be part of the two games.

“We will see how he is when he meets up but he is really keen to meet up and play.”

Asked if United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, his former Old Trafford team-mate, had asked him for his view on the speedster, Giggs said: “You don’t need to speak to me to see the quality Dan has had, especially from the turn of the year.

“It has been well documented. The transfer breaking down with Leeds, the week after they (Swansea) played Leeds away and he played really well.

“From then really he has kicked on. For me, in the last game, he was fantastic.

“He is a talent and when you have speed like that as well as the temperament that he has, he could play anywhere.”

Wales squad: Hennessey (Crystal Palace), Ward (Leicester), A Davies (Barnsley), A Williams (Everton), Taylor (Aston Villa), Mepham (Bournemouth), Gunter (Reading), Roberts (Swansea), B Williams (Barnsley), Ampadu (Chelsea), Rodon (Swansea), Lockyer (Bristol Rovers), J Lawrence (Anderlecht), Allen (Stoke), J Williams (Charlton), Vaulks (Rotherham), Brooks (Bournemouth), Smith (Manchester City), Levitt (Manchester United), James (Swansea), Bale (Real Madrid), Woodburn (Liverpool), Wilson (Liverpool), T Lawrence (Derby), Matondo (Schalke 04), Thomas (Leicester), Vokes (Stoke), Moore (Barnsley).

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