Bale will play for Wales in Sweden

Gareth Bale

Gareth Bale scored 21 goals for club side Real Madrid this season

Gareth Bale will play some part in Wales’ friendly against Sweden on Sunday, manager Chris Coleman has confirmed.

The forward seemed to struggle with cramp as he played the full 120 minutes of Real Madrid’s Champions League final win against Atletico last Saturday.

But he has been training with Wales as they prepare for their Euro 2016 opener against Slovakia on 11 June.

“He won’t be getting 90 minutes. He may get 30, he may get 45,” said Coleman.

“If you go into things half-heartedly, that’s when problems occur and you get injured.

“Balo will play a part, whether that is starting and not finishing or coming on.

“I wouldn’t say he is putting me under pressure [to play]. He has had a tough season, a little time with injury. If he doesn’t play 90 minutes tomorrow it doesn’t matter.”


Zlatan Ibrahimovic will start for Sweden against Wales ahead of his possible switch to Manchester United

Battle of the superstars

Bale’s involvement sets up the tantalising prospect of having the Real Madrid player on the pitch at the same time as Sweden’s charismatic captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

The former Barcelona striker is a free agent having left Paris St-Germain, for whom he scored 50 goals last season, and has been strongly linked with a move to Manchester United.

The 34-year-old will start against Wales and, although Coleman has not made any particular plans to contain Ibrahimovic, he is pleased to see him playing.

“As for Sweden, we picked the game for certain reasons,” the former Fulham boss added.

“I’m glad to see they are going very strong. We knew it would be a tough test. There is no point in playing these games if you’re guaranteed wins.”


Hal Robson-Kanu is a free agent after leaving Reading at the end of the season

Injury concerns

Coleman, who has signed a new deal to remain Wales boss, is not prepared to risk any of the players in his squad currently suffering with injuries.

Hal Robson-Kanu (leg) Joe Allen (knee) and Joe Ledley, who broke his leg on 7 May, will all be left out in Sweden.

However, Coleman believes the trio could all be available to play in Wales’ first match in France.

“Neither Hal or Joe Allen will be risked, neither will Joe Ledley,” he told BBC Wales Sport.

“But, all three are doing very well and it has been a good two weeks for them.

“Joe Ledley is a contender for Slovakia if he keeps progressing. We have given him every opportunity to be fit and a part of it.

“At the moment he looks very, very good.”


Wales celebrate after securing a first major finals appearance in 58 years

Pride and honour

Coleman said the send-off his squad were given by the public at Cardiff Airport was a timely reminder as to what it means to the Welsh public after 58 years without reaching a major finals.

“We need to savour this time, we worked so hard to be in this position,” he said.

“We need to honour the jersey in this tournament. We don’t fear anyone or anything and I know what these players are capable of.

“They are capable of great things and the reception we got leaving Cardiff, it made us feel a bit special.

“It gives you an incredible feeling of honour and pride and we need to do our country proud.”

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