Gareth Bale calls Wales record 'amazing' but puts focus on World Cup win

Forward set to win 110th cap against Iran in second Group B game on Friday

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Gareth Bale says becoming Wales most capped player would be “an amazing achievement” but is more focused on the team beating Iran at the World Cup on Friday.

The 33-year-old is poised to overtake Chris Gunter, who should be among the substitutes at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium, and secure his record-breaking 110th cap.

Bale is already his country's record scorer with 41 goals, including the leveller in Wales' opening Group B draw with the United States.

“I haven’t really been focusing on the cap thing to be honest, just trying to focus on the game, said Bale who made his Wales debut in 2006.

“On a personal level it’s an amazing achievement, it’s an honour to represent my country so many times.

“But it’s more important that we try to get the victory. Hopefully we can and it’ll make it even more special.”

Manager Robert Page insisted Bale was ready for Wales’ second group game, even if the player himself admitted such an energy-sapping match to open with was not ideal due to the quick turnaround in fixtures.

The Los Angeles FC attacker said: “I’m feeling OK, obviously it took a few days before I could feel my legs again.

“But we are professionals, we try to recover and do the best we can. Playing 104 minutes, or whatever it was, isn’t ideal when you’ve got a game four days later.

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“Everyone is doing all they can to recover for the next game. I’ve not played loads before I came here, but I’ve dealt with it before and it won’t be a problem.”

Wales have been boosted by the return to fitness of midfielder Joe Allen, out since mid-September with a hamstring injury, for the crucial game in Doha against an Iranian side that was thrashed 6-2 by England in their opening game.

“Joe got through his fitness test, so that’s good news. He’s fit and raring to go,” said Page, who is set to hand Kieffer Moore a starting spot after the striker came off the bench to spark Wales’ revival against the USA.

“We were all concerned about him because of the extent of the injury.

“He kept breaking down. We had to meet targets along the way and they’ve met every target. Last week they pushed him to 100 per cent. It was a gamble.

“If he’d have broken down he would have been completely out of the tournament.”

And Bale is in no doubt of the importance that having a fit and firing Allen brings to the team. “Joe’s a massive player for us and probably doesn’t get all the credit he deserves,” added Bale.

“He’s a vital cog in the way we play. To have him available for selection is a massive boost for us. He’s going to do what Joe Allen does best and cover every blade of grass on the football pitch.”

Updated: November 24, 2022, 5:07 PM
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