Bale gets Toshack backing

10 February 2009 09:25
Wales boss John Toshack believes Gareth Bale is a better player than his current club form suggests.

The 19-year-old has endured a turbulent campaign with Tottenham, coming under fire from certain sections of the White Hart Lane support and being openly criticised by boss Harry Redknapp.

He has struggled to fulfil the undoubted potential he displayed during his early days at Southampton, with life in the top flight proving to be a steep learning curve for the youngster.

However, Bale remains an integral part of the Wales set-up and his coach at international level believes he can always be relied upon to do an important job for his country.

"The situation over Gareth now does not concern me as much as it did 12 months ago (when he was injured)," Toshack said in the Daily Express.

"A lot of people get excited about these young lads, such as Gareth and Aaron Ramsey.

"But that is why I have always said we have to wait and see how they develop over the early years of their career.

"Gareth had a bad injury and was out for a long time. He has played on the left side of midfield and left-back and he has not been at his best recently, there is no question about that.

Satisfied"Yet he has never let us down. His performances for us have all been pretty good.

"I was more concerned 12 months ago because his injury was taking longer to heal than we thought."

While Bale appears to be a certainty to figure in Wales' friendly clash with Poland on Wednesday, Toshack is sweating on the fitness of national skipper Craig Bellamy.

The in-form Manchester City striker must undergo a late fitness test ahead of the game and will require intense treatment on a knee problem in order to make the side.

"Bellamy's knee is swollen. He travelled down from Manchester by road on Sunday and by the time he had got here his knee was causing him problems," said Toshack.

"It was no better when he woke up (on Monday). He is keen to play if he can get enough treatment but we will have to be very careful with him. There is no point taking any chances.

"But the fact he is here with us shows he wants to play, he does not want to stop now he is in such good form."

Source: SKY_Sports