Wales manager Speed checked by Bale blow ahead of England game

The manager insists it is an old injury sustained while with Tottenham and not a current one while training with the national side.

CARDIFF // Gary Speed, the Wales manager, has insisted that the injury keeping Gareth Bale out of the clash with England tomorrow was one he sustained while with Tottenham Hotspur.

It had been suggested that the winger had suffered a reoccurrence of an injury during training with the national side, but Speed confirmed it was an old injury that was highlighted by a scan.

"He did the warm-up on Tuesday, we took him off, and he went for a scan on Wednesday and he had an injury there," Speed said.

"It was an injury from last week and we do our utmost here to make sure we look after the players.

"Gareth is the most important person in this scenario."

Despite Bale being highlighted as one of the key players in his country's bid to beat England in Cardiff, Speed stressed that he is more interested in the long term rather than the short-term benefits of risking him on tomorrow.

"The next three-and-a-half years are more important than the next three-and-a-half days," he said. "We want to be successful, and the best way we can be successful is to get our players out on the pitch in the best shape they can be."

Speed was also quick to suggest the injury is not a long term one, and that Bale is not injury prone.

"I don't think he's fragile. His playing record this season when he played the first 30 games, and the way he plays, he is so explosive, there comes a time in a season when he is going to need a rest. I'm sure he will play next week, I'm sure it [the injury] is only a 10 day thing."

Aaron Ramsey, meanwhile, has been named as the new Wales captain at the age of 20. The match will be the Arsenal midfielder's first for his country in 16 months after recovering from a badly broken leg.

"I thought about it a lot," Speed said. "As I have mentioned before, it is about the future and planning ahead. There were two or three candidates. I thought about what is best for the team going forward."