Wales forward Gareth Bale has been busy stirring things up with England this week ahead of tonight’s Euro 2016 crunch Group B clash in Lens and says he is fully prepared in case England try to kick him.
Bale, whose comments claiming that Wales were more passionate than England drew a sharp rebuke from England coach Roy Hodgson, said he was expecting a bit of rough stuff.
“That’s normal. You always get it. [Slovakia] had a nice nibble on Saturday,” the Real Madrid star said. “I don’t think I’ve said anything too bad, to be honest. I’ve given my opinion what our country is about.”
The comments came despite Hodgson saying that they had no plans to target Bale, the England coach saying that he could said rest assured that England “don’t kick people”.
The Welsh wizard also said he is ready should England try to mark him out of the game.
“I’ll just move the player out the way and create some space. It doesn’t bother me,” said Bale. “If I don’t get the ball, I will stand on the wing, he can stand next to me and there will be a massive hole in the middle.
“But I feel like I’m playing really well and that I can keep on improving.”
— England (@England) June 15, 2016
England’s Adam Lallana said that was also unlikely.
“We know we can’t just focus on Gareth thinking that’s how we’ll win the game,” The Liverpool forward said. “Their second goal [against Slovakia] was Aaron Ramsey to Hal Robson-Kanu, and he slotted it in the bottom corner. Gareth wasn’t involved.
“His free-kick [for the first Wales goal] was brilliant technique, down to hours and hours of practice. We need to know his qualities because they’re a big part of Wales’ strengths but we all watch the Real Madrid games on the television, so we don’t need to sit there and be told exactly what run he makes every time.
“We’re professional players. We have some in our squad from Manchester City who played Real this year, and others who have faced Barcelona and [Lionel] Messi in the Champions League, and it’s not always the right thing to do, to man-mark them,” he added. You’ve just got to be aware of their individual strengths.
“You don’t want to leave your team too vulnerable on the counterattack with players like Gareth Bale on the other team, given the qualities he has. But it’s not a one-man show.”