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Last Updated: Monday, 13 August 2007, 12:13 GMT 13:13 UK
Wales pick Bale for Bulgaria trip
Gareth Bale
Bale missed his Premiership debut for new club Tottenham with injury
Tottenham defender Gareth Bale has been included in Wales' squad for Bulgaria despite knee and thigh problems.

The 18-year-old was missing for Spurs on Saturday in their Premiership opener at Sunderland, but will travel for the 22 August friendly in Bourgas.

However, Wales manager John Toshack admits Bale is "a major doubt" to play.

New 1.5m Wolverhampton Wanderers striker Freddy Eastwood, 23, is included and should win a first cap after injury denied him last season.

Midfielder Carl Robinson is spared a call following his summer move across the Atlantic to Toronto FC.


Wrexham defender Steve Evans is available and included after a minor injury, but Nottingham Forest midfielder Arron Davies (ankle) and Crystal Palace midfielder Carl Fletcher (hamstring) have not recovered from their knocks.

Toshack is acutely aware that Bale, signed by Spurs from Southampton in a 10m deal, is struggling with injury but still wants to take the youngster.

"I'm aware that he is a major doubt, but I can wait until the weekend to see how he recovers," Toshack said.

"Maybe Spurs would want him to have 45 minutes with us, but I can understand them being concerned."

Toshack's side will use the match as a warm-up ahead of their Euro 2008 qualifier with Germany in Cardiff on Saturday, 8 September, followed by a trip to face Slovakia four days later.

Wayne Hennessey, 20, is expected to retain the goalkeepers' jersey, while Gillingham's Andrew Crofts could start the match in place of Robinson.

Toshack has not named Aston Villa's Mark Delaney in the squad, after the right-back had further surgery in the summer on a persistent knee problem.

Although we have spoken to Villa about Mark Delaney, we are not getting quite as bad feed-back as some are suggesting

Wales boss John Toshack

Rumours persist that the 31-year-old is about to announce his retirement due to a persistent knee problem.

But while Toshack admitted that he feared for Delaney's future at Villa Park, the Wales boss hinted that the defender may not yet be ready to hang up his boots.

"We are concerned for Mark, he last played for us 12 months ago and he is our most experienced defender," Toshack said.

"I just hope that things do turn out okay for him, but although we have spoken to Villa about him we are not getting quite as bad feed-back as some are suggesting."

Wales drew 0-0 with Bulgaria in a friendly at Swansea's Liberty Stadium in mid-August last year, and have won only once in five previous meetings against Bulgaria.

Hristo Stoichkov was in charge of Bulgaria for that match, but the former Barcelona striker stepped down last April to lead Spain's Celta Vigo, with Dimitar Penev now in charge for his second spell as national coach.

Bourgas is in eastern Bulgaria on the Black Sea and the club PFC Naftex play their home matches at the ground.

Wales squad for the friendly against Bulgaria on 22 August 22:
Coyne (Tranmere), Hennessey (Wolves), Price (Derby), Bale (Tottenham), D Collins (Sunderland), J Collins (West Ham), Evans (Wrexham), Gabbidon (West Ham), Morgan (Peterborough), Nyatanga (Derby), Ricketts (Hull), Crofts (Gillingham), S Davies (Fulham), M Jones (Wrexham), Koumas (Wigan), Ledley (Cardiff), Vaughan (Crewe), Bellamy (West Ham), Earnshaw (Derby), Eastwood (Wolves), Nardiello (QPR).

Pick your Wales XI
05 Feb 07 |  Internationals
Wales arrange Bulgaria friendly
24 Apr 07 |  Internationals
Wales 0-0 Bulgaria
15 Aug 06 |  Internationals
Country profile: Bulgaria
08 Aug 07 |  Country profiles


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