Wales. Rest. Golf. In that order for Gareth Bale! Harry Wilson reveals captain is avoiding golf simulator to prevent hurting his back ahead of crucial World Cup game with Iran
- Even a golf simulator can’t distract Bale from preparing for Wales’ next game
- Wales will take on Iran in their second group game of the World Cup on Thursday
- Bale scored in the 82nd minute of Wales’ clash with the USA to claim a 1-1 draw
- Harry Wilson said Bale is avoiding the simulator to prevent hurting his back
Even the hotel golf simulator can’t entice Gareth Bale from his preparations to be ready for Wales’ crunch match against Iran on Friday, with the captain leaving the machine to others as he protects a sore back.
Bale demonstrated with his equaliser against the USA that he still has the capacity to wrest a game Wales’ way. Though he had the golf machine set up at the team’s base in West Bay, near the coastal Corniche, he has left teammates Matthew Smith and Tom Lockyer to dominate, after winning ‘closest to the pin’ with his early swings.
‘He hasn’t played as much closer to the game because I think his back might be feeling it a bit,’ teammates Harry Wilson said on Wednesday. ‘But obviously when Gaz has a swing, he’s very good.’
Even a golf simulator can’t distract Bale from preparing for Wales’ next game against Iran
The golf activity, along with an inflatable Welsh dragon in the pool and a poker school, are among the distractions as Rob Page’s squad approach a match in which a convincing win could put them in the driving seat ahead of their match against England next Tuesday.
Midfielders Ethan Ampadu and Sorba Thomas are leading the way in the table tennis stakes with Kieffer Moore, Dylan Levitt, Ben Cabango and Neco Williams in the three-hand poker school.
Wilson related how the players had got behind wing back Williams, who was told his grandfather had died less than 24 hours before Wales’ opening game. ‘The lads got around him and tried to make him feel as comfortable as possible,’ he said.
Bale scored a penalty in the 82nd minute of Wales’ clash with the USA to claim a 1-1 draw
Bale and his team-mates are eager to secure all three points against Iran on Thursday
Joe Allen trained with the full squad on Wednesday as he seeks fitness for the early kick-off at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium, having been out for two months with hamstring damage.
Iran are likely to be missing goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand, after a clash of heads with one of his defenders, and Moore declared that only a win would do from a side Wales are expecting to react to their 6-2 hammering against England.
‘They’re going to have a reaction. So three points is a must for us,’ Moore said.
Page is likely to start with Moore against Iran, having seen him arrive from the bench and transform Wales in the second half in Monday’s 1-1 draw.
Bale is known for his love of golf and even has a golf simulator at the 2022 World Cup
However, Harry Wilson said Bale is avoiding the simulator to prevent hurting his back
Moore said he hoped he had convinced Page to make that choice, though would not say he expected it. ‘If he thinks I’d want to do enough to start then happy days,’ he said. ‘I look forward to it and it should be a great game. I could have got a goal! But I like to think I did my bit and played my part.’
The Bournemouth striker agreed that watching England’s dominance of Iran — had left him licking his lips.
‘It did, yes,’ he said. ‘They struggled [at set-pieces]. You could just see England’s dominance in the box and they took a lead straightaway.
‘England played really well, to utilise those positions to get balls into the box and if we can replicate that, then hopefully we get the same outcome.’