Gareth Bale is “raring to go” and on course to win his 100th cap for Wales after being named in Robert Page’s squad for the World Cup qualifiers against Belarus and Belgium. Bale has been out since 8 September after sustaining what was described by Page as a “significant hamstring tear”.
But the Real Madrid manager, Carlo Ancelotti, says the forward may be involved in the La Liga match against Rayo Vallecano on Saturday and Page has named the 32-year-old in a 28-man squad for Wales’s vital double-header. Bale would become only the second Welshman to reach 100 caps after Chris Gunter, who achieved the feat in March.
“Gareth is in a good place. He’s exactly where we and the medical team thought he should be,” Page said. “I spoke to him on Saturday and he’s raring to go. He’s back on the grass and doing absolutely everything possible to get himself 100% fit. He’s not in full-time training yet, but we’ve got another week.”
Bale was on the scoresheet against Levante before scoring a hat-trick in Wales’s 3-2 World Cup qualifying victory against Belarus in early September. His last game was Wales’s goalless draw with Estonia nearly two months ago and Real have been careful managing his recovery.
“If we have to adhere to a plan they want to put in place we’d be prepared to do it because we want Gareth as part of the squad,” said Page. “He’s got a good relationship with the manager and medical team there, and so have we. Conversations are to be had and it’s about trusting each other.”
Asked if Real would prevent Bale from joining the Wales squad, Page said: “If he declares himself fit I can’t see why they would. They’ve been very supportive … If there are any issues I think it will come from maybe Gareth pushing himself too hard and having a slight knock back.
“He’s a fit lad who doesn’t half look after himself really well.”
Wales probably need four points from their final two qualifiers to finish second in Group E and secure a World Cup play-off place.