The Wales captain scored a late penalty to salvage a precious point in the team’s 1-1 draw against the United States.
Wales manager Rob Page has revealed he considered substituting Gareth Bale in the second half of Monday’s 1-1 draw with the United States in the World Cup.
The 33-year-old winger, however, insisted he was ok to continue. He then won and scored a decisive 82nd-minute penalty to cancel out Timothy Weah’s opening goal for the US, later telling Page: ‘That’s why I said I’m fine.’
Bale’s 41st international goal earned Wales a point in their Group B opener at the Al Rayyan Stadium.
“When we got the penalty, we knew who was taking it, one million percent. He’s never let us down, has he? Once again, it’s all about Bale and rightly so,” Paige told the press after the match.
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‘He is very experienced and clever’
Despite scoring a stoppage-time equalizer in LAFC’s MLS Cup final victory over Philadelphia Union this month, Bale had only played 28 minutes of football for the MLS club since September.
“Irrespective of what he does at club level, he manages to put the jersey on for Wales and give performances that surprise people. And he certainly surprised me today,” Page added.
“I said to him on about 75 minutes, ‘Are you OK to carry on?’ And he went: ‘Yes, I’m fine.’ And then at the end of the game he said, ‘That’s why I said I’m fine.’
“He manages himself through games, so if he had gone full tilt from the first whistle, he probably would have got to halftime. So he’s very experienced and clever in managing his body.”
Wales, who are making their first World Cup appearance in 64 years this winter, will next face Iran on Friday.