LONDON: Wales will go into the Euro 2020 series without their beleagured boss Ryan Giggs, who puts the spotlight on Gareth Bale’s attempt to silence critics who say he has lost his appetite for success.
Giggs’ absence following his arrest on charges of assaulting two women last year will cast a shadow over Wales during the Euro.
The former Manchester United star faces a trial in 2022 after being accused of bumping into his ex-girlfriend Kate Greville and controlling her throughout their relationship.
Giggs is also charged with the common assault of Greville’s sister Emma in the same incident.
The 47-year-old took over Wales in 2018 and made a positive impression when he led them to the European Championships, just their second major tournament since the 1958 World Cup.
But Giggs, who denies the charges, has been on leave since November last year, with babysitter Robert Page.
Page has won four of his six matches since replacing Giggs, with Wales’ only loss at that time against world number one Belgium.
If Wales want to thrive in Giggs’ absence, Bale rests on the proof that his erratic loan spell with Tottenham Hotspur this season was not proof that his love for the game is waning.
Although he scored 16 goals, Bale was unable to make a constant impact on his return to Tottenham, despite the hope that he would revive the Welsh captain if he escaped from his miserable time.
Hindered by fitness issues and an icy relationship with Jose Mourinho before his dismissal, Bale barely refuted the theory that he no longer has the drive to dominate at the highest level.
After celebrating Wales’ Euro qualification by waving a flag called ‘Wales’. Golf. Madrid. In that order ‘Bale had the opportunity to show that the swing to Real was more than a hollow patriotism.
– Baallas –
Despite the retirement of his Real nemesis, coach Zinedine Zidane, Bale is apparently considering negotiating a payout so as not to return to Madrid.
It was also suggested that the four-time Champions League winner could completely stop playing football and try his hand at professional golf, a claim that was rejected by his agent, Jonathan Barnett.
Bale sparked speculation about a possible announcement of bombings when asked about his future following his fight in Tottenham’s last Premier League game of the season in Leicester City.
“I know what I am doing, but it will only cause chaos if I say something. It will have to happen after the Euro,” Bale said.
“I do not think of anything other than Wales.”
After their fairytale match to the semi-finals of Euro 2016, Wales will need Bale at his best to repeat the success.
“We would like to repeat what we did at Euro 2016, but we are realistic. It’s a different team, a different tournament,” Bale said.
Page’s team starts on June 12 against Switzerland in Baku, with matches against Turkey and Italy rounding off their group schedule.
Most of Page’s squad are busy trading in England’s second series, with 19-year-old midfielder Rubin Colwill as a surprise inclusion after only making his Cardiff City debut in February.
“He blew us all away about how he was and how he behaved. He’s already a top professional,” Page said of Colwill.
Wales have won just four of their eight qualifying matches, with two of the victories against Azerbaijan as they finish second in Group E qualifying behind Croatia.
They scored just ten goals in eight qualifying matches, which put pressure on Bale to shine.
It’s also important to find a way to deal with Juventus midfielder Aaron Ramsey.
“Ryan’s key principles when he first took over do not differ, and whether he is here or not, the youngsters know exactly how we expect them to play,” said Page.