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Coach says Wales must 'show teeth' after Gareth Bale injury furore

Raymond Verheijen has warned Tottenham Hotspur that Wales will not be a "pushover" when it comes to their handling of Gareth Bale.

Coach says Wales must 'show teeth' after Gareth Bale injury furore The Wales assistant manager said the hamstring injury that ruled Bale out of Saturday's game against England was picked up while the player was with Spurs and suggested that when players report for international duty they could undergo scans, in order to avoid disputes with clubs.

Verheijen, who was optimistic that Bale would be fit to face Real Madrid in Tottenham's Champions League quarter-final first leg, in Spain a week on Tuesday, said Wales had to be prepared to "show our teeth", to prevent clubs from trying to claim compensation for injuries that were present before they turned up.

Although there is no suggestion that Spurs are demanding compensation from the Football Association of Wales in relation to Bale's injury, their manager, Harry Redknapp, did claim last week that the 21-year-old had sustained the injury on international duty. Wales say that is not the case.

Asked about the possible necessity of scanning players, Verheijen said: "This is it exactly, especially as we had a few situations where clubs claimed compensation from the national team [in the past]."

Verheijen caused controversy last week when he was forced to clarify that he was not referring to Tottenham's treatment of Bale when he wrote "the incompetent amateurs struck again" on his Twitter page.

He said: "This week has [taught] us that, ideally and theoretically, we should scan all the players before they come here. This week has proven that, as some of the claims have been really big in the past."

Verheijen believes Wales did the right thing by issuing a statement confirming that a scan showed Bale had the injury at Spurs.

"We have good and experienced staff and we dealt with the situation [with Bale] very well because we felt that something was wrong – we sensed it," he said. "What happened was us protecting ourselves, as if you wake up and see on the television that Bale got injured with us in training, when he did not even train, then you have to act quickly and protect yourself as otherwise these things will be used against you.

"Also, if you want to be successful as a team both on and off the pitch, you have to show your teeth sometimes. You have to show the world and show everyone that you are not a pushover. Wales is a small country and it does not necessarily mean that we are a pushover. We have to show our teeth and make sure that everyone outside Wales takes us seriously. That is what we did this week."

Having stayed in Cardiff in the lead-up to the England match, Bale has returned to Spurs for treatment ahead of Saturday's Premier League fixture at Wigan and the Champions League tie at the Bernabéu. Although Verheijen refused to divulge details about the severity of Bale's injury, the Dutchman said he had a chance of featuring in both games.

"I know exactly about Bale's injury. But I am not going to tell you [the press] as it is none of our business. But for us it is clear. We assessed the situation and sent him for a scan and decided not to get him involved. It is in the hands of Spurs [now]. I think that he will be playing in the next seven or 10 days."

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Stuart James in Cardiff, for The Guardian on Sunday 27th March 2011 22.30 Europe/London

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010

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