Thu, 14 Nov 2019

London - Gareth Bale believes he will be able to play a role in Wales's must-win final two Euro 2020 qualifiers against Azerbaijan and Hungary, Welsh manager Ryan Giggs said on Tuesday.

The 30-year-old Real Madrid star has been struggling with a calf problem and has not played since scoring for Wales in their 1-1 draw with World Cup finalists Croatia on October 13.

However, Giggs said Bale is confident he could win the race to be fit for both the game in Azerbaijan on November 16 and at home to Hungary on the 19.

"It wasn't a big injury, but with the short turnaround it's a worry," said Giggs after naming a 27-man squad.

"I'm in constant contact with him and he feels confident that he'll be fit for the game.

"It's just monitoring it this week, literally day by day. The last time I spoke to him he was confident he'd be OK."

The Welsh - surprise semi-finalists at Euro 2016 - are presently fourth in their group, six points adrift of table-topping Croatia and four shy of second-placed Hungary.

Both Croatia and Hungary have just one game remaining.

Bale returned to light training with Real Madrid last week after a visit to London sparked more speculation about his future.

This accelerated on Monday with claims Real Madrid were preparing a 70 million ($90 million) bid plus Bale to lure England striker Raheem Sterling away from Manchester City.

Giggs, who became Wales manager in January 2018 after Chris Coleman left to take over at Sunderland, said he hoped Bale would get some game time this weekend.

"That's the ideal situation, that he gets minutes before meeting with us," said the 45-year-old former Manchester United wing.

"They're huge games and we need to win them (to qualify), we know what we've got to do. We've played against both teams, we beat Azerbaijan and lost against Hungary."

However, Real coach Zinedine Zidane said Tuesday in Madrid that Bale was still unfit to play, adding "if he is not ready to play for Wales, he won't play."

Giggs has also called up Juventus midfielder Aaron Ramsey, who could make his first appearance in the qualifiers after recovering from a thigh injury.

"He's come on in the last two games for Juventus and he's looked sharp," said Giggs.

"I wouldn't say he's 100 per cent match fit but he looks good and he looks sharp."

Another midfielder Joe Allen, like Bale and Ramsey a pivotal figure in the 2016 team, is named in the squad despite being suspended for the trip to Azerbaijan on November 16.

The 29-year-old - presently playing for second tier strugglers Stoke City - will return for the Hungary game in Cardiff.

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