Coleman: Scotland can forget trying to kick Bale

Date published: Friday 17th March 2017 10:25

Wales boss Chris Coleman has told Republic of Ireland to forget about trying to goad Gareth Bale in their World Cup qualifier.

Real Madrid forward Bale returns from a two-match La Liga ban at Athletic Bilbao on Saturday after being sent off against Las Palmas.

Bale picked up the second red card of his career for shoving Las Palmas midfielder Jonathan Viera to the ground during an ill-tempered 3-3 draw.

But Coleman is confident Bale will keep his head in the white-hot atmosphere of Dublin’s Aviva Stadium next week, saying: “Anybody sensible looking at him will see he never does that.

“I don’t even know what happened. But he is a human being and sometimes you do something and regret it.

“If you look at his past, though, and he has been kicked from pillar to post, I won’t be worried.

“I remember when we played Scotland and some ex-Scottish player said, ‘He can’t play if he hasn’t got any legs.’

“I looked at that and thought, ‘Does he really seriously think that is going to bother him?’

“If you look and see where he is playing, under the pressure, in the spotlight, week in, week out…

“So whatever the opposition have got planned for him, he’s seen it before and dealt with it before. I’m not at all worried.”

With Wales seeking to close a four-point gap on Group D leaders the Republic, Coleman has handed Liverpool starlet Ben Woodburn a first senior call at the age of 17.

Chester product Woodburn is dual-qualified and England were reportedly keen on a player who became Liverpool’s youngest-ever goalscorer when he netted against Leeds in an EFL Cup tie in November.

But Coleman said: “There won’t be any knee-jerk reactions to cap him

“If I thought it was too early for him I wouldn’t have called him up.

“He’s in there on merit – he’s playing for Liverpool in the Premier League and every day he is training with international players. He has earned it.”

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