Gareth Bale will be 'devastated' after latest injury, says Coleman

Chris Coleman had just delivered his pre-match instructions at the Stade de France when he got a whisper in his ear.

He may have been hoping Antoine Griezmann or Kylian Mbappé had been pulled out during the pre-match warmups in Paris, but instead the news was about another blow for Gareth Bale.

The Real Madrid forward had suffered a fresh thigh injury just days after returning to training after more than a month out with a calf injury and is likely to be out for the rest of the year. This will be his 19th layoff during his four years at the Bernabéu.

“I don’t know the full extent of it,” Coleman said. “He’ll be devastated. We haven’t had dialogue with Real Madrid, but we’ll speak with Gareth in the next few days and find out exactly what it is. It’s bad luck, bad news, and he’ll be gutted.

“The harder you try to get back you get a setback and sometimes you have to go through that. He’ll get over and he’ll be back. He just needs to get settled again and get his fitness. He needs to take his time and not rush himself back.”

Ryan Giggs also had his international career interrupted by injury before he retired from Wales duty in 2007. He went on to wear the red shirt of Manchester United for another seven years, setting a Premier League appearance record and becoming the most decorated footballer in English football history. But his injury woes did not just disappear by chance. Giggs began practising yoga in his late 20s before undergoing acupuncture and using ice baths to give his muscles the best opportunity to recover during the day-to-day grind.

“Some players as they get older they change their schedule,” said Coleman, whose side face Panama at the Cardiff City Stadium on Tuesday. “That’s up to him and Real Madrid. When he’s with us all our players have different programmes at different times of the week because we know what they do with their clubs. We have to make sure we taper that in with the way we work.”

Bale has missed 40 of Real Madrid’s last 60 matches and has been absent for Wales in crucial World Cup qualifiers against Serbia, Georgia and the Republic of Ireland. But Coleman gave a glimpse into the future when he unleashed Ben Woodburn and the debutants David Brooks and Ethan Ampadu off the bench during Friday night’s 2-0 defeat by France. “Between now and the next campaign we need to get these boys as much experience as we can. They will get better, stronger, and in 12 months’ time the squad that will be available will be better than the one we took to the Euros. It’s not all doom and gloom.”



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