Bale has Euro 2016 belief

Gareth Bale believes Wales can qualify for Euro 2016 and hopes his profile as the world's most expensive player will help the Dragons return to playing in front of a packed out Millennium Stadium.

Gareth Bale, Wales

The Real Madrid winger, who is set to win his 43rd cap in Saturday's friendly against Finland, has shown signs he is starting to settle at the Bernabeu after an injury-hit start to life in Spain.

The 24-year-old, who was usurped as Wales' youngest international by Liverpool's 16-year-old Harry Wilson last month, made his international debut at a time when Welsh home crowds were beginning to dwindle after the near-miss of the Euro 2004 qualification campaign.

Under Mark Hughes, Wales enjoyed several sell-outs at the Millennium Stadium, but there are likely to be fewer than 10,000 fans inside Cardiff City Stadium for the clash with the Finns.

But with Bale, Aaron Ramsey, Joe Allen and Ashley Williams available to manager Chris Coleman, who has signed a two-year contract extension, the former Tottenham man hopes results will improve and supporters will return to the national side as they attempt to qualify for Euro 2016.

"We're heading in the right direction, we have a good group of young players, we are starting to see some results and we have got a bright future," he told FAW TV - the Football Association of Wales YouTube channel.

"Hopefully we can get a lot of support behind us, have everybody and the media believe in us and hopefully we can achieve something we have not achieved for a long time.

He added: "Hopefully it (his profile) can help Wales in the long run, for me personally we really want to kick on as a team, as a whole, as a country and we want to get back to the days when we were filling up the Millennium Stadium with 75,000 fans and almost qualifying for tournaments.

"We want to qualify now, we have got the team to do it and we know if the whole nation gets behind us and starts believing in us and putting positive things in our heads, we have the right team to make this happen."

Bale also welcomed Coleman's new contract, but also praised the work of former Wales boss John Toshack, who handed debuts to several of the current squad.

"I think John Toshack did great for Welsh football bringing us all through," said Bale. "I think he gave most of us our debuts so he was obviously very good.

"Now we have the right team, the right age for every player. With the manager signing a two-year contract we have had a year to get used to things and hopefully we have a bit of stability and continuity in training and games we can stamp our authority on.

"Everyone knows what we are doing, there are not new ideas coming in all the time and it's something we are all looking forward to."

Bale also hopes youngster Wilson will go on to make a big impact for Wales after breaking his record.

He said: "It's one of those experiences where you are a bit too young to know what is going on, but you can look back and have a great memory of.

"It was great to see him come on and get his first cap and hopefully he can kick on himself, get in the squad regularly and push for a place and make the team stronger."

Bale admitted his dream move to Real Madrid, for whom he has scored three in his last four appearances, had lived up to all his expectations, and he is relishing life in the Spanish capital.

He said: "It was obviously a bit of a slow start with not having a pre-season and getting a few niggly injuries, but that's out of the way now.

"I feel I have settled in very well, everybody at the club has been very helpful, all the players have been great with me and I am starting to play my football on the pitch and enjoying the whole of the life in Madrid.

"It's everything (I thought it would be )and more, it is amazing to be there, the stadium and fans are incredible.

"I want to keep playing well and hopefully win trophies at the end of the season. It's brilliant, I am enjoying it."

When asked about playing alongside Cristiano Ronaldo, he replied: "When you play with the best player in the world it does make life easier and to be playing with him and the rest of the team is massive for me and I am enjoying every minute of it."



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