IT'S UP TO YOU GARETH
CHRIS Coleman says Gareth Bale will come on for Wales against Serbia tonight if the world’s most expensive player feels he is fit to take part.
The £85million Real Madrid superstar was having a scan on a groin injury yesterday as under fire Wales boss Coleman faced the media.
His manager confirmed Bale will not start this evening’s 2014 World Cup qualifier at the Cardiff City Stadium.
The former Tottenham wing, who had a limited pre-season, coupled with a foot injury, played no part in Friday’s disappointing 2-1 qualifier defeat away to Macedonia, Coleman savaged for not introducing from the bench.
But the ex-Wales international and Fulham manager defended his decision not to introduce him in what was his country’s fifth loss of the campaign with just two wins under his belt.
On the prospect of Bale playing, Coleman said: “If Gareth says to me, ‘I can play a part,’ he’s coming on pitch. There’s no way he’s not coming on the pitch – honestly.
“If he says, ‘I can play a part,’ then I’m going to put him on the pitch. It’s as simple as that, and I would have done if he had said to me before the (Macedonia) game, ‘I can play a part’.
“And if he had said, ‘I can play for 20 (minutes), I would have put him on for 30 – I would have pushed it a little bit.
“I can’t do that if he says to me, ‘I’m not ready’. I cannot do it.
“If there’s a chance, if there’s any chance he can play for a second, it takes a player like that a second to change your life, he’ll be on the pitch eventually.
“You can’t start him, he’s not ready. He’s had four training sessions in probably eight weeks. That’s nowhere near enough.
“I don’t care how good he is. I don’t how good anybody is. If you want to take a risk of starting a player, you are asking for trouble.
“And he’s not our player. He belongs to Real Madrid and we are mindful of that.”
Wales have to beat Serbia to have any hope of finishing third in Group A and boosting their seeding when the draw for Euro 2016 qualification is made early next year.
It is also a chance to avenge the 6-1 away humiliation to the Serbs nearly a year to the day in Novi Sad.
“They are good and we have to be at our best and if we are at our best, we’ve got a chance to win the game and that’s what we are concentrating on whatever side we put out,” Coleman said.
“It is a must-win, you can’t get around that. It’s a cup final for us. It has to be. It’s all or nothing.
“It’s a chance to put things right (after last year). That was the darkest moment for me I think in this campaign, probably as a manager in my career – that wasn’t a good feeling.”
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