Gareth Bale one of THREE Wales stars wrapped in cotton wool to be ready for massive World Cup play-off with Austria
GARETH BALE is one of three Wales big-hitters being nursed ahead of Thursday’s World Cup date with destiny.
The Dragons captain took part in training on Tuesday in a major boost before the play-off semi- final tie with Austria in Cardiff.
But Bale, as well as Aaron Ramsey and Ethan Ampadu, had their workload carefully managed by fitness staff because they were in recovery mode.
Real Madrid superstar Bale missed Sunday’s El Clasico 4-0 hammering by Barcelona after Carlo Ancelotti said he did not feel well, while reports in Spain claimed Bale had a ‘bad back’.
Ampadu and Ramsey played for Venezia and Rangers respectively three days ago but Wales took no chances before the crunch home clash as they bid to reach a World Cup for the first time since 1958.
During a warm-up running drill where the players were put in groups of four, fitness coach Ronan Kavanagh said on Wales’ Instagram live: “Lads on recovery, take it nice and easy.”
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Bale, who has played just 77 minutes of club football for Real since featuring against Real Betis on August 28, replied ‘OK’ to the instruction.
After back-to-back Euros, the 32-year-old is desperate to reach the Qatar finals but boss Robert Page faces a big dilemma over how many minutes his talisman can give Wales, especially as the tie could go to extra-time.
Bale returned from a two-month lay-off to win his 100th cap against Belarus in the 5-1 victory in November. But the forward lasted just 45 minutes before picking up a calf injury.
Since then his only appearances came against Villarreal before a three-minute Champions League cameo as a substitute away in the last-16, first leg to Paris Saint-Germain last month.