February 26, 2019 / 4:48 PM / 6 months ago

Soccer-Former Wales coach Toshack backs under-fire Bale

MADRID, Feb 26 (Reuters) - Former Real Madrid and Wales coach John Toshack has described Gareth Bale as an “extraordinary talent” and said injuries have prevented the winger being seen as a resounding success in Spain.

The 29-year-old Bale has been named as a substitute in Real’s past two La Liga games and refused to celebrate after scoring the decisive goal in his side’s 2-1 victory over Levante on Sunday.

Toshack, who twice coached Real and handed Bale his international debut while in charge of Wales, said that it is not easy for players to deal with setbacks but Bale should show his frustrations in better ways.

“Injuries have really taken their toll (on Bale),” Toshack told Spanish radio station SER.

“He gets strange injuries from strange situations, things that aren’t normal. He’s going well and then all of a sudden he’s injured. It’s really difficult when you stop and start over again and more so in Real Madrid.

“What I am sure of is that Gareth is an extraordinary talent, and it’s a real shame that his injuries have meant he’s missed so many games. Nobody likes to be on the bench and sometimes you have to hide your anger out of respect for your team mates and what he did wasn’t nice.”

Bale has also faced criticism from fans and local media for a perceived failure to assimilate into Spanish culture and Toshack said his former player should have made more effort to learn the language.

“You have to say that if you go to a club like Real Madrid, or even a Malaga or Oviedo type team, and they’ve shown confidence in you and you work for them, you should at least try to learn the language,” he said.

“I’ve never had any classes and it’s difficult for me, but people can understand me when I talk. Bale could’ve tried harder and spoken more of the language in the country where he’s working.”

The emergence of Brazilian 18-year-old Vinicius Jr has led to Bale starting on the bench in recent weeks and prompted media reports that the Welshman could be set for a close-season exit.

Toshack said that the club will possess more power than the player when it comes to making the final decision. “This is a question of what Real Madrid want to do more than what Bale wants or needs to do,” he said. (Reporting by Joseph Cassinelli Editing by Toby Davis)

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