Bale blow holds no fears for top Gun

Daily Star Sunday - - RESULT! - By HARRY PRATT

WALES have noth­ing to prove when it comes to life without Gareth Bale.

That is the view of Red Dragons de­fender Chris Gunter as his coun­try aim to bounce back from Thurs­day’s thump­ing by Spain with a vic­tory over the Repub­lic of Ire­land on Tues­day.

De­spite the ab­sence of in­jured Bale in the 4-1 home de­feat to Luis En­rique’s siz­zling Span­ish, Gunter has rub­bished the idea Wales can­not thrive without their pro­lific tal­is­man.

For­get the heav­i­est loss since be­ing wal­loped 6-1 in Ser­bia in 2012 be­cause, ac­cord­ing to the Read­ing full-back, there is plenty of ev­i­dence to sug­gest they are ca­pa­ble of com­pet­ing on the big stage even if Bale is miss­ing.

Which seems more than likely to be the case again this week for their Na­tions League clash in Dublin af­ter Wales boss Ryan Giggs ad­mit­ted the Real Madrid su­per­star is ex­tremely doubt­ful be­cause of a groin in­jury.

The vastly ex­pe­ri­enced Gunter, who won his 90th cap against Spain, said: “We don’t need to prove what we can do when we are miss­ing one player.

“In my ex­pe­ri­ence we have been without key play­ers a few times and haven’t done too badly.

“Of course, when he is un­avail­able it is go­ing to be dis­ap­point­ing. You al­ways want Gareth Bale in the team.

“But we have enough qual­ity play­ers and a solid struc­ture in place that we are not de­ter­mined by any one player – not even some­one as good as Gareth.”

How Wales re­spond to that Spain ham­mer­ing will be cru­cial to their hopes of do­ing a dou­ble over Martin O’Neill’s out­fit.

Gunter is sure that they will make amends – with a sec­ond Na­tions League vic­tory over the Ir­ish in barely a month, hav­ing beaten them in Cardiff five weeks ago.

The Roy­als man, 29, said: “When you give away poor goals against a team as good as Spain it’s very tough. We could have avoided them.

“Now our at­ten­tion turns to Tues­day and an­other big game. We need a good re­sult and then the Spain de­feat won’t feel as bad.

“We will be up against a very dif­fer­ent style in Ire­land. It will be more phys­i­cal with dif­fer­ent chal­lenges.

“In in­ter­na­tional foot­ball you don’t of­ten get a chance to put a bad re­sult right so quickly. But we’re in a good po­si­tion to do that.”

EX­PE­RI­ENCED: Gunter

■BALE FORCE: Gareth Bale scored in the 4-1 de­mo­li­tion of Ire­land last month

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