Bale must share burden - Ratcliffe

04 March 2014 03:16

Wales may have a world-class talent in Gareth Bale but former national team captain Kevin Ratcliffe has told the Real Madrid winger not to burden himself with trying to win matches single-handed.

The 24-year-old, who became the world's most expensive player when he moved to Spain for £85million in the summer, has had an explosive impact to his career at the Bernabeu scoring 10 goals in 18 league appearances.

He is being touted as a potential captain for Wednesday's friendly at home to Iceland because of illness to Ashley Williams and injury to Aaron Ramsey.

But Ratcliffe, speaking at an event on behalf of FA Cup official partner, believes there is a danger of putting too much pressure on the forward's shoulders and he would not want Bale to assume the role on a long-term basis.

"I wouldn't give the armband to Gareth Bale and take it away from Ashley Williams because that would be a kick in the teeth for Ashley," he told Press Association Sport.

"Just because Gareth is playing for Real Madrid - we had Ian Rush playing for Juventus but he wasn't captain.

"Some players make good captains, some players don't. I think Ashley fits the bill and Gareth is a match-winner, let him concentrate on other things.

"Sometimes when you give people other responsibilities it takes something away from their game and I wouldn't want that to happen to Gareth.

"We've always had three or four players in a side (who are at a different level) and what those players have to do accept is the players around them.

"Maybe they don't see the things you do but you need to not be afraid to give them the ball.

"I've seen that in the past with better players in the side who look at one player and then turn away - if it was a player at club level they would give him the ball.

"The worst thing they could do in a game is ignore one player and go the other way and lose the ball yourself.

"Sometimes you can't take full responsibility. You can win the game but don't take full responsibility in other areas of the pitch.

"Use the players around you, just like you would at club level."

Ratcliffe admits Bale's star quality stands out but insists Wales are far from a one-man team and they have much greater depth, which means they should be able to compete better in trying to qualify for major tournaments.

"I remember a goal he (Bale) scored against Inter Milan (for Tottenham in the Champions League) and as he's running down the line people were all getting off their seats - in your lifetime you only see a couple of people who actually do that.

"Fortunately for Wales we have got one. We've had Ryan Giggs but at the same age Gareth has better qualities than what Ryan had.

"But what you have to get is the consistency Ryan had over a period of time.

"Fortunately we have a few players now that we've never had the like of in the same side before - Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey.

"Aaron, when he is fully fit, is very important to the squad and Ashley Williams is as valuable to Wales as those two players because without him they are weakened as a back four.

"But I have never seen a midfielder play for Wales who has as much talent, with that capability and that style, as Ramsey.

"We have never been known as that type of nation who produces that type of player.

"We've had a Gareth Bale before because we had Ryan Giggs but we've never had a Ramsey. He is equally as important."

Source: PA

World Cup Group G

Belgium 1 0 0 3 3
England 1 0 0 1 3
Tunisa 0 0 1 -1 0
Panama 0 0 1 -3 0
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