Gareth Bale may have helped Wales to a draw against Croatia in their Euro 2020 qualifier on Sunday, but former boss John Toshack has hit out at the Real Madrid star, suggesting he does not play for the team.
Bale scored the equalising goal for Ryan Giggs' side after Nicola Vlasic had given the visitors the lead at the Cardiff City Stadium and victories next month against Hungary and Azerbaijan should see them progress to the finals, though they are also relying on Croatia seeing off Slovakia.
It looked like Bale picked up an injury during the game, and one of the criticisms he has received during his time at Real Madrid has centred around the amount of time he spends on the treatment table.
Giggs commented after the game that it was merely cramp, but it will still provide his critics, of which he has many in the Spanish capital, with more ammunition.
And Toshack, who also managed Los Blancos during his illustrious coaching career, believes that Bale’s style of play can cause unnecessary injuries.
“I remember one day, against Croatia or Greece, we had a free-kick on the right-wing and Bale runs up at the right side of the ball and 'pam', with the outside of his boot,” he told Libero .
“I said to him: ‘Hey Gareth, take care with this [technique]. Ligaments, cartilages, take care'.
“We had another free-kick and he did exactly the same, but it resulted in a goal and I said: ‘See, do what you want!’.
“But I've seen Bale injured, and many times I think these [injuries] are related to this.”
Bale joined the Spanish giants in 2013 and has gone on to make 238 appearances in all competitions for Los Blancos, scoring 104 goals. This is more appearances than he made for Tottenham, and more goals than he scored for Spurs and Southampton combined, although he did play at left-back for much of the early part of his career.
But Toshack thinks Bale is too selfish at times, adding: “Bale doesn’t take part in the game, for possibly for five minutes he is around the edges of a game but he doesn’t participate, and then suddenly he sprints to come back.
“With him it is sometimes like playing with 10 players. He is very individualistic."