Chris Coleman happy to have 'special' Gareth Bale
10:17am Thursday 15th August 2013 in Wales rugby and football
WALES and the Republic of Ireland played out a drab goalless draw overshadowed by the Gareth Bale transfer saga, but Chris Coleman is more than happy to cope with the attention that goes with having a world class player in his squad.
Last night’s friendly sorely missed the Tottenham winger's mix of pace, power and skill during a game light on entertainment and quality.
The visitors enjoyed the better of the contest and created the better of what chances there were, with Shane Long failing to convert two great opportunities while Robbie Brady also went close.
Craig Bellamy's second-half free-kick was as close as toothless Wales came, with Ben Davies failing to make the most of their best chance right on half-time.
The build-up to the game had been dominated by Bale and whether the Tottenham winger will complete a world record move to Real Madrid.
He sat on the bench in his suit and tie having been ruled out by a foot injury, and Coleman is hopeful of having a fit and settled player to select for next month's World Cup qualifiers.
Coleman said: "This week has not really been about Wales and Ireland, to be honest. It's been about is he going or he is staying, is he playing?
"I can't grumble because he's a great player. Only special players get that type of publicity and interest - and he plays for us.
"I'll take the rough with the smooth all day long.
"It'd be nice for the next game if he is fit and settled somewhere. We hope and pray that happens."
Despite the drudgery of large sections of the match, which perfectly highlighted why FIFA are doing away with August friendlies, Coleman was happy to see Wales record a first clean sheet of his 10-match reign.
He said: "We kept a clean sheet and I was happy with the input from the lads. It's the first goalless draw in 40-odd games for Wales "I know Premier League managers won't have wanted this game because I've been a club manager.
"But I'm on the other side now and it was important time for us because we hadn't seen each other since March.
"At times we were rusty but we needed that. The next four qualifiers are vital for us. We must now look to finish third in our qualifying group."
Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni felt his side should have earned a confidence-boosting win ahead of important World Cup qualifiers against Sweden and Austria next month.
The Italian said: "I think a draw is enough for us, but I think we deserved to win because we had three or four great opportunities to score.
"Shane Long, James McClean and Paddy Madden all had chances and we had three chances in quick succession in the first half.
"But it was important to continue our journey and play against a a strong team.
"Wales are a proud side, and they were missing Bale and he is important.
"But it is important we start the season well to have the possibility of going to face Sweden and Austria in September by achieving a good result and giving us the confidence to believe we can do well in those games."
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