Wale's coach not looking to spare Bale

Wales manager Chris Coleman has no qualms about playing star man Gareth Bale for 90 minutes in Wednesday's international friendly against Iceland.

Gareth Bale

Bale, the world's most expensive player after joining Real Madrid for £85.3million, has reported fit for the clash at the Cardiff City Stadium having started to hit form in Spain.

The 24-year-old has scored five goals in his last seven games for Madrid, who are top of La Liga, through to the Copa del Rey final and heading for the Champions League quarter-finals.

His upcoming schedule is undoubtedly a demanding one but Coleman wants to make full use of him in one of only two Wales friendlies before the start of Euro 2016 qualifying.

Coleman said: "If he starts tomorrow we are looking to play him for 90 minutes.

"We want to win the game tomorrow. We will have to go into it with the right mentality and will try to win the game and start with our strongest team.

"If we have the chance to make changes we will, depending on the players, how they are physically and how they are performing, but ultimately we want to win the game."

Coleman is impressed with the former Tottenham star's commitment to the Welsh cause in reporting for a relatively low-key friendly when he has more glamorous occasions to look forward to.

He said: "I was never worried about 'Baley'. He has been here before when he's known he is not going to play and has made the trip anyway to be with us. It is great to have him.

"He was involved in a tough game at the weekend - the Madrid derby was brutal at times.

"My heart was in my mouth on one or two occasions but he has come through that. He is here and raring to go."

Bale made a slow start at the Bernabeu having been hampered by a thigh injury on arrival and then a series of niggling problems.

That prompted some questioning of the fee paid for his services but Coleman believes he is now starting to find his feet.

Coleman said: "It's funny because not so long back I was reading that he hasn't really settled and he was getting a little bit of criticism from the Spanish media.

"But if you look at his stats I think he has 14 goals and about a dozen assists, which is not bad for his first year and considering that he never had a pre-season.

"Every game I have seen, especially in the last month, he has looked his normal self.

"I thought it might take him a while because pre-season is so important for any player, but of course he is not just any player.

"He's a special talent, he's an incredible athlete and he has surprised me how quickly he has come up to the level that's needed to play at that level."

Coleman might even have needed to turn to Bale to captain the side after Ashley Williams fell ill at the weekend.

That will now not be necessary after Williams recovered from the bug which led to him being sick on the field during Swansea's draw with Crystal Palace at the weekend.

But Coleman said: "We were always confident Ash was going to make it but if we did have a problem, then it would be a no brainer."

Coleman sees the Iceland encounter as a good examination for his side.

Iceland, under former Sweden boss Lars Lagerback, impressed in World Cup qualifying and reached the play-off stage before going out to Croatia.

Coleman sees them as a good yardstick as he eyes success in the battle for places at the expanded Euro 2016 from a group including Bosnia, Belgium, Israel, Cyprus and Andorra.

He said: "They finished second in their group they will be well organised.

"It just shows you what can be done if you field your strongest team more often and I think they were able to do that.

"That creates confidence and if you get some good results, you build on that."

Palace midfielder Joe Ledley has withdrawn from the squad with the hip injury he suffered playing against Williams' Swansea.

He joins Aaron Ramsey, David Vaughan and Simon Church on the absentee list.

Coleman said: "He has got a hip problem that never really settled down after Sunday's game. We won't take the chance with Joe."



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