Wales vs Spain: Ryan Giggs urges players to see Gareth Bale's absence as an opportunity
Wales manager Ryan Giggs says Gareth Baleâs absence from Thursdayâs friendly against Spain is an opportunity for his other players to prove they are not a one-man team.
The Real Madrid forward has been ruled out of the match in Cardiff with a groin problem described as âmuscle fatigueâ and Giggs said he had a â50-50â chance of facing Ireland in Tuesdayâs UEFA Nations League game in Dublin.
Giggs has several attacking alternatives in his young squad and he is counting on them to show there is life without the countryâs all-time leading scorer.
âWe obviously have options,â he said. âWeâve got Sam Vokes, Tom Lawrence, Tyler Roberts, who can all play up top, or you can play two up top.
âWe need those options because Gareth sometimes isnât going to be there. That was something I was aware of when we took over. That was why I tried to push a lot of the young playe rs through and sort of fast-track them. We need a Plan B.â
Giggs said Wales would consult Real Madridâs medical staff before taking a decision on whether or not to field Bale against Ireland.
Bale, 29, has not trained since joining up with the squad, but he has been attending team meetings and will be in the changing room on Thursday.
Wales opened their Nations League campaign with a one-sided 4-1 win over Ireland in Cardiff last month, before losing 2-0 to Denmark in Aarhus.
The Football Association of Wales has switched Thursdayâs game to the Principality Stadium in the hope of cashing in on the presence of Spain stars such as David de Gea and Sergio Ramos.
A crowd of over 50,000 is expected and at Giggsâs request the roof will be closed to enhance the atmosphere and mitigate against the risk of rain.
Giggs described the pitch as âmagnificentâ and joked that it might work against Wales, given the clinical manner in which Spain dismantled World Cup finalists Croatia 6-0 on their last outing.
âThe pitch might be too good!â he said. âI thought about growing the grass a little bit longer.â
Wales have not played at the 74,500-seater Principality Stadium since a Euro 2012 qualifier against England in March 2011.
Attendances fell below 20,000 during the latter years of the teamâs full-time occupancy of the national stadium, prompting the successful move to the smaller Cardiff City Stadium.
Wales captain Ashley Williams is one of the few players in the current squad who remembers what it was like to play at the Principality Stadium and there was a pregnant pause when he was asked how he remembered the ground.
âNot full, if Iâm being honest,â he said after a moment of reflection.
Williams was one of the stalwarts of the side that reached the semi-finals of Euro 2016 under Giggsâs predecessor, Chris Coleman, but he believes the c urrent squad is even stronger.
âThis is the strongest squad Iâve seen since Iâve been playing for Wales,â he said.
âIf I look at the last camp, there were two XIs that could go out and be as strong as each other. Weâve never really had that.â
Spain, who host England in the Nations League on Monday, held a minuteâs silence before Wednesdayâs training session in memory of the victims of the flooding in Majorca.
Luis Enrique is without Isco, Diego Costa, Dani Carvajal and Sergi Roberto due to injury, but could still rest players with a view to the England game.
âI know what Iâm going to do, but I donât want to reveal anything now,â the Spain coach told his pre-match press conference.
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