Chester: Bale on a ‘different level’ to England strikers

Date published: Wednesday 15th June 2016 1:56

Gareth Bale: Named in Robbie Savage's combined England/Wales XI

Wales defender James Chester has told England’s strikers they are not in the same class as Gareth Bale.

Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy scored 49 Premier League goals between them last season, and England’s record goalscorer Wayne Rooney will lead them out against Wales in their Euro 2016 showdown.

The build-up to the game in Lens on Thursday has seen players from both camps claim that they have the better team.

But Chester insists there is no argument when it comes down to who has the best player.

“They’ve got a lot of attacking talent, but I don’t think what they’ve got is anything like we’ve got in Gareth,” said Chester.

“They’re certainly very talented individuals and they’ve got a lot of goals in them.

“But Gareth’s on a different level, he is just such a special player.”

England showed signs of defensive fragility in the build-up to Euro 2016, conceding seven goals in four games before beating Portugal 1-0 in their final warm-up game.

And England switched off in the final seconds of their tournament opener when Russia scored an injury-time equaliser to draw 1-1 in Marseille.

“If there is a weakness in the England team it’s at the back,” said Chester.

“So if we can keep it tight then we’ll be confident we’ve got opportunities.

“Everyone in the group would take this game because a lot of us play in the Premier League and play against those individuals week in week out.

“They’re obviously the team we know the most about and we’re confident that we can upset them.

“We just need to perform individually and as a team, and play like we did in the qualifiers.

“If we do that then anything’s possible.”

Gareth Bale scores Wales v Slovakia

Warrington-born Chester has relatives coming out to Lens to watch the game – only the fifth meeting between the two countries since 1984.

But he says there is no case of split loyalties, with his family all cheering for Wales.

“I’ve seen a few friends and they’re not sure who to support,” said Chester.

“But my family are all behind me. They’re really excited and a lot of them will be at the game.

“It’s a huge game for everyone involved to play your rivals in such a major tournament.

“But I think it’s a blessing that it is our second game because not all our focus has been on England.

“Taking something from the Slovakia game has put us in good stead to get out of the group.”

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