Bale: Different Wales, but there should be expectations

Wales captain Gareth Bale insists there "should be expectations" around the side going into Euro 2020 on the back of their semi-final run at the tournament five years ago. Bale, 31, is one of eight su

Bale: Different Wales, but there should be expectations

Wales captain Gareth Bale insists there "should be expectations" around the side going into Euro 2020 on the back of their semi-final run at the tournament five years ago.

Bale, 31, is one of eight survivors from Wales' squad in France, where they were knocked out by eventual winners Portugal.

Rob Page will lead Wales into only their third major international tournament, aiming to emulate the success achieved under Chris Coleman, with their first game of the competition against Switzerland in Baku on Saturday.

"It's similar (to Euro 2016) coming into the tournament," Bale said at the pre-match press conference on Friday.

"On the back of 2016 there should be expectations, but it's a different team and a different tournament."

Wales' other two Group A rivals Italy and Turkey kick off the tournament in Rome on Friday night.

Unlike fellow home nations England and Scotland, Wales will not host any games at Euro 2020, with their second group-stage match against Turkey also in Baku on Wednesday before they travel to Rome to face Italy on Sunday.

"We know it's a difficult group to get out of," Bale said, with the top two finishers in each qroup and the four best third-placed finishers progressing to the last 16.

"They are all difficult teams to play against, but we've got to take one game at a time.

"We are very excited to be here and one day away. I feel fine and ready to give 100 per cent for my country, as I always do."

Bale said he was unconcerned about his international goal drought, having last scored for Wales against Croatia in October 2019 but he has created four goals in his previous seven appearances.

"It doesn't matter. I've made assists. I'm still contributing. I'm not worried," said the Real Madrid forward, who spent last season on loan at Tottenham.

"If the chances arise to score, hopefully I can take it," he added.

Page, who will take charge of the side during the tournament as Ryan Giggs is facing trial in England next year, backed Wales' all-time goalscorer Bale to once again deliver for his country.

PA - Robert Page Wales 1:34
Wales manager Rob Page says it will be an extremely proud day for him to lead his country at Euro 2020, and has given an update on the fitness of Aaron Ramsey

"It's not the end of the world. If he's not scoring he's supplying goals," Page said.

"If he's not scoring it's important he's setting up goals, and he's doing that."

Wales rested Aaron Ramsey for the two pre-tournament warm-up games against France and Albania and the Juventus midfielder sat out Thursday's training session.

However, Page says there are no concerns over Ramsey, 30, who also missed the Italian club's five final games of the Serie A campaign with fitness issues.

Wales midfielder Aaron Ramsey (PA)
Image: Wales midfielder Aaron Ramsey has featured in only 19 of the 44 games they have played since reaching the semi-finals of Euro 2016

"There are no issues with Aaron whatsoever. He didn't train yesterday. That was always part of the plan," Page said.

"We worked backwards from Switzerland. Aaron has always been part of the process.

"He said yesterday he's in a good place. That's great news for us," he added.

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References

  1. ^ Pick your Wales team to start Euro 2020 (www.skysports.com)