Ryan Giggs says it is time for Gareth Bale to address injury issues
In part two of this week's Super 6 Class of ’92 diary, Ryan Giggs discusses what Gareth Bale must do to address his injury struggles and Wales’ chances of making the World Cup without their star man.
The Real Madrid forward picked up a calf muscle strain against Borussia Dortmund last Tuesday and has now been ruled out for the two crucial clashes against Georgia and the Republic of Ireland.
Bale being ruled out of the World Cup Qualifiers is obviously a big blow because if you're preparing to play against Wales, the first thing you think about is how to stop Bale.
They can still get the results to qualify for the World Cup though, but they will have to play a slightly different way as there is nobody else who can get you back to front like Bale does.
Sam Vokes can be used as a target man and there's still a lot of quality, as Joe Allen, Ben Davies and Aaron Ramsey have shown, and they'll be even more important to the team.
Obviously, you're missing a world-class player and the team's talisman, but sometimes that can bring the lads together and it won't be the first time they've coped without him.
I don't think Ben Woodburn will start though. You never know if he has looked good in training, but he is still an impact player for me, so I can't see Chris Coleman trying to use him as a like-for-like replacement.
Time to make changes
When you look at Bale and the physical specimen he is, he is always going to be putting his body under pressure, especially with the sort of challenges he comes up against from other players.
With the injuries he has had and at the stage of his career, this is when you need to start addressing it. When you get to your late 20s it hits home that you need to start making changes.
Everyone is different and I tried to cover every base with yoga, acupuncture, ice baths, but what might work for some players might not for others.
You also have to adapt your game. You can't play in your late 20s like you did when you were 19, but that experience means your brain is quicker and you can be more economical yet more effective. I was definitely more effective in games in my late 20s even if I wasn't as quick.
I didn't actually think they could make it before the previous Qualifiers because I thought they'd have to win all four games, but I think winning the first of the two games was huge in building the momentum and it is going to be the same with the trip to Georgia in terms of preparing for the Republic of Ireland game.