Ryan Giggs has offered some advice to Gareth Bale over the regular injuries he’s sustained over recent years.
The Welsh legend would have been disappointed to hear the news that the Real Madrid superstar won’t be involved in his country’s World Cup qualifying double header against Georgia and Ireland this week due to a hamstring injury.
There are suggestions he could end up missing more games than that, with Real Madrid’s back-to-back Champions League games against Tottenham close by.
Bale missing Wales’ games is more important right now given the situation Chris Coleman’s men are in with two games remaining of their qualifying campaign.
Sitting second on 14 points, the Welsh trail Serbia by four points, but lead Ireland by one going into this week’s matches against Georgia and the Irish.
If Wales beat Georgia and Serbia lose to Austria on Friday then Wales would go into the final game with an outside chance of qualifying automatically for Russia next summer.
They’ll keep an eye on Ireland against Moldova at the same time too, with an Irish defeat coupled with a Welsh win all but securing a playoff spot for Bale’s team.
But it’s looking likely that Wales v Ireland will be a straight shootout for second place – and unfortunately Wales won’t be able to call on their star man.
Injuries have been common for Bale over recent seasons and, now at the age of 28, Giggs believes the former Spurs man has to start looking after his body better.
In a column for skysports.com, Giggs – who played until he was 40 – said: “When you look at Bale and the physical specimen he is, he is always going to be putting his body under pressure, especially with the sort of challenges he comes up against from other players.
“With the injuries he has had and at the stage of his career, this is when you need to start addressing it. When you get to your late 20s it hits home that you need to start making changes.
“Everyone is different and I tried to cover every base with yoga, acupuncture, ice baths, but what might work for some players might not for others.
“You also have to adapt your game. You can’t play in your late 20s like you did when you were 19, but that experience means your brain is quicker and you can be more economical yet more effective. I was definitely more effective in games in my late 20s even if I wasn’t as quick.”
If Bale can find some fitness and form, there’s no doubt he’s one of the world’s best players. But he’s spending too much time off the pitch at the moment and that’s to the detriment of his club and country.
Wales will be hoping they can cope just fine without their 26-goal talisman.
You can see the betting odds for Ireland against Wales via the UK’s best betting sites.