Bale’s scoring record in no doubt, says Wales boss Page
Wales coach Rob Page said Gareth Bale’s scoring record was never questioned after the captain’s heroism in the World Cup qualifying victory over Belarus on Sunday .
Bale, who is Wales’ all-time top scorer, scored twice from the penalty spot before spectacularly completing his hat-trick with just over a minute to go, winning all three points for Page’s men .
Ahead of Sunday’s game in Kazan, Bale had not scored in an away game for his country since 2016. The Real Madrid man certainly chose the right time to update this particular statistic, his goals securing three vital points for Wales as they seek to qualify for a World Cup for the first time since 1958.
“I got the match ball, I made sure of it,” the Welsh captain said at today’s press conference.
Such a long wait for Bale to add his to the away international goals column had led some to doubt the striker’s influence. Manager Page insisted, however, that he never subscribed to this point of view.
“I never questioned his abilities, his commitment or his scoring record,” said the interim boss.
“He brings a lot more to the team than just scoring goals.”
There is no doubt that having a player of Bale’s stature and experience is a big boost for Wales, and especially for young players moving up the ranks. The 32-year-old says he relished the opportunity to lead his country.
“I like being a captain, it’s an honor more than anything. If you ask a kid whether or not he wants to be captain of his country, it is one of the wildest dreams he can imagine. I can also use my experience to help the rest of the team.
In response to a question about individual goals, Bale, who has scored 36 times in his 98 appearances for Wales, said his main goal is to be successful with his country.
“It would be nice to get to 40, I guess, that’s the closest round number,” he said.
“I played my first 25 games at left-back, so that doesn’t really help the stats. It’s about trying to help the country succeed, to inspire young people and to do our best.