Ibrahimovic v Bale will be ‘spectacle’

James Chester

James Chester has made nine appearances for Wales

Defender James Chester is hopeful that Gareth Bale can play his part in Wales’ final warm-up game before the Euros.

Manager Chris Coleman has hinted he is ready to field Bale in Stockholm, despite the concern of him picking up an injury ahead of the tournament.

Chester wants to see Bale go head-to-head with reported Man United target, Sweden star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

“To have the ability of both of them on the same pitch, it will make for a real spectacle,” he told BBC Radio Wales.

Chester, more of a certain pick for his country than for club side West Brom, is looking forward to competing against Ibrahimovic, who broke the 50-goal mark this season at previous club Paris Saint-Germain and has previous form when it comes to tormenting British defenders.

“Zlatan Ibrahimovic is a player I have always watched and wondered how I would fare against him,” Chester explained.

“He’s one of those players who has it all, the physical side, he’s very good on the ball with his feet, so it is a challenge where I am intrigued to see how I compete.

“Reaching the finals, we will being coming up against quality every game. But thankfully, they aren’t all of the talent of Zlatan Ibrahimovic.”

Chester feels the trip to Sweden is vital as Wales prepare for a first major tournament appearance in 58 years. They face in-form Slovakia in their first match on 11 June in a group also featuring England and Russia.


Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored four goals for Sweden in a 2012 friendly against England

“The build-up will be Zlatan v Bale. It is a really good game to be involved in, it is important we get some form to take into [the] Slovakia game,” he said.

“The result may not matter, but it is important to get some form.”

Wales’ qualification for France has been dominated by talk of their showdown with England in Lens on 16 June, but Chester feels Wales have every reason to feel they can surprise people at the Euros, especially with Bale and Aaron Ramsey in their ranks.

“It’s great to be there after such a long time but we don’t want to go and not give a true account of ourselves,” he said.

“We performed really well in qualifying, kept two clean sheets against one of the best international teams in the world [Belgium] so I think we’ve shown that we’ve got a great team and two very world class individuals in our team on their day.

“If we can perform like we have done in qualifying then we can surprise a few people.

“We understand that if we perform to our best then we can be difficult to beat with Gareth and Aaron’s ability.

“We know that if we can keep games tight then we’re in a really good position to get results. Hopefully we can improve and get better and better.”

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