Chris Coleman has every confidence that Gareth Bale will remain committed to playing for Wales in friendly as well as competitive matches, even if he joins Real Madrid in a world-record transfer deal this summer.
Highlighting the regularity with which Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo represent England and Portugal respectively, Coleman believes Bale will be just as passionate about playing for his country, irrespective of his "superstar" status.
Marco Tardelli, the Republic of Ireland assistant manager, had suggested that Bale would lose the respect of his Wales team-mates if he failed to feature in the friendly international in Cardiff on Wednesday. Coleman, however, dismissed Tardelli's comments, described Bale's attitude as "magnificent" and made it clear the only reason the 24-year-old will not line up against Ireland is because it is "too much of a risk" to play him when he is carrying a slight foot injury.
When Bale is fit, though, Coleman expects the forward to be available for Wales, no matter where he is playing his club football. "We played Croatia in March, they had three players all celebrating 100 caps. People criticise Wayne Rooney, he is 27, he has 80-odd caps, 36 goals. He has commitment – that is turning up for friendly games," the Wales manager said. "Gareth's attitude is magnificent and I don't expect anything different, and if we are going to get to where we need to be, we need all the best players every game and he obviously comes into that category.
"Ronaldo turns up every time for Portugal, because he has untold caps. Whilst Portugal are a great team, they are as passionate about their country as we are about Wales. What's the difference? You expect people to turn up because it is for their country and that is the only way we are going to improve, whatever club he joins, or if he stays at Tottenham. For any club to think 'it's only Wales', he can't care about us; he does, and all our players do."
While some have questioned whether Bale is too young to move abroad at this stage, Coleman has no reservations the forward will be able to handle life on and off the field at Real Madrid if Tottenham sanction his departure. "Gareth, wherever he goes [overseas], will have to learn the language and the culture, but his ability will always be there. His mentality is fine. He is a superstar, but he is not caught up with that.
"The best players don't stop and think how well they have just done, they are always striving: 'How can I improve?' That's why the best stay there for so long, people like Ryan Giggs. Giggsy, and players like him, don't care about how much money they have, what fancy car he's driving, or what big house he is living in, or the stardom of it; it is all about being on the pitch and producing, because they love football, genuinely. Do I see all that in Gareth? Absolutely. If it happens, I don't think Gareth will get carried away with what a club like Real Madrid does to you."
Wales 4-2-3-1 (probable): Hennessey; Matthews, Ricketts, A Williams, Davies; Allen, Ledley; Bellamy, J Williams, Robson-Kanu; Vokes Ireland 4-4-1-1 (probable): Westwood; Coleman, Clark, O'Shea, Wilson; Walters, McCarthy, Whelan, Brady; Hoolahan; Long
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