Bale blow holds no fears for top Gun
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.”
■BALE FORCE: Gareth Bale scored in the 4-1 demolition of Ireland last month