Bale vows to continue Speed's work

28 November 2011 01:16

Wales winger Gareth Bale has vowed to honour Gary Speed by aiming to continue the progress made under the national team manager.

Former Leeds, Everton, Newcastle, Bolton and Sheffield United midfielder Speed died at his home on the outskirts of Chester on Sunday, with sources confirming he was found hanged.

Speed had recently lead Wales to four wins in five games, raising hopes they could qualify for the 2014 World Cup, and Bale told "We were on the up, he changed the way we play and the whole mentality of our game. It is a massive loss, but we will try and carry on the best we can in his honour."

On the news, Bale said: "It was a massive shock, I don't think anybody ever thought anything like this would happen. Everyone is devastated and it is a massive loss to everyone in football.

"It is a tragedy, everyone still can't get their head around it and all our condolences go out to his family and his kids. It is a hard time."

Cheshire Police said on Monday that the inquest into Speed's death will be opened at Warrington Coroner's Court on Tuesday at 3pm.

Football Association of Wales chief executive Jonathan Ford hailed Speed's influence on the national team since taking over in December, saying: "When we went through the selection process Gary wasn't necessarily the most experienced manager there, but he had some fantastic qualities.''

"He was a true professional, a fantastic gentleman and he got the players where they wanted to be, they wanted to play for him and it wasn't just players - it was the fans, the staff, everybody around him. It's such a sad loss.

"I was with him at the draw (for World Cup qualifying) and we looked at each other when each of those teams came out and agreed every one of those matches was winnable.

"The future was bright, the last few games were packed with positivity. We were on a roll and there was a great optimism about the place that the team had a fantastic opportunity to qualify for 2014.''

Source: PA

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