Robert Page unfazed by claims Gareth Bale was watching golf during Wales’ draw

By Phil Blanche, PA
·3-min read

Wales caretaker boss Robert Page was not bothered by claims that Gareth Bale was watching golf during his side’s goalless draw with the United States.

Skipper Bale was rested for the Swansea friendly on Thursday ahead of the upcoming Nations League ties against the Republic of Ireland and Finland.

The on-loan Tottenham forward was spotted by television cameras in the stands looking at a MacBook and viewers joked that Bale was watching the Masters at Augusta.

Wales v USA – International Friendly – Liberty Stadium
Caretaker coach Robert Page was not worried by claims that Gareth Bale was watching golf during Wales’ 0-0 draw with the United States (David Davies/PA)

Bale has a self-confessed passion for golf and was known as ‘The Golfer’ by former Real Madrid team-mates during his time in Spain.

“I don’t know what the players not in the squad were up to,” Page said when asked about Bale.

“There are no problems at all. Balo’s here, he’s in the dressing room with the lads beforehand and making sure that everyone’s in the right frame of mind.

“He is probably the fittest he has been and we will benefit from that.

West Bromwich Albion v Tottenham Hotspur – Premier League – The Hawthorns
Gareth Bale has built up his game-time for Tottenham in recent weeks (Laurence Griffiths/PA)

“It’s great to have him playing week-in week-out and the way Tottenham have built him up to full fitness.

“It’s a case of managing him this week. It was always the plan to leave him out of the 23 and have him raring to go and firing on Sunday.”

Page had his first game in temporary charge of the Dragons following manager Ryan Giggs’s arrest over an alleged row with girlfriend Kate Greville at his Manchester home on November 1.

Giggs has denied the allegation of assault made against him and was not present at the Liberty Stadium.

But Giggs was in contact with the Wales camp before kick-off and Page said: “We spoke before the game and he wished us all luck.

“We spoke about substitutions and how we anticipated the game would go.

“We’ll also have a debrief tonight and we’ll go through any little knocks we’ve picked up, performance, areas we need to look at and have a quick chat.”

With Sunday’s crunch Cardiff clash against the Republic in mind, Wales showed nine changes from the side that won in Bulgaria last month.

Wales v USA – International Friendly – Liberty Stadium
Wales winger Rabbi Matondo (right) attempts to find his way through the USA defence (David Davies/PA)

Newport midfielder Josh Sheehan and Lincoln forward Brennan Johnson made debuts off the bench and former Wales captain Page expressed satisfaction with the outcome.

He said: “It’s a proud moment of course, but it’s work as usual.

“Having been involved with Ryan, and having Albert (Stuivenberg), Tony Strudwick and Tony Roberts as support, I thought it went quite well.

“There were aspects that we want to improve on, but overall I thought there were a lot of positives to take out of the game.”