Gareth Bale a future permanent Wales captain, says manager Ryan Giggs
Wales manager Ryan Giggs has tipped Gareth Bale as a future permanent captain of his country.
The Real Madrid forward led Wales for the first time in last month's Nations League loss in Denmark, with usual skipper Ashley Williams rested.
The 34-year-old defender is expected to have the armband back for next week's friendly with Spain but, when Williams retires, Giggs believes Bale could be his long-term successor.
"Going forward, definitely," he said.
Despite a recent groin injury, Bale has been named in Wales' squad for Thursday's friendly with Spain and the Nations League match against the Republic of Ireland the following Tuesday.
The 29-year-old was taken off during last month's La Liga draw with Atletico Madrid and missed this week's Champions League defeat against CSKA Moscow.
However, Bale is expected to be fit for this weekend's fixture with Alaves and, although he has suffered from several injuries in recent years, Giggs has not been given any specific instructions from Real about managing the amount of time he plays for Wales this month.
"No. Like with every player, you get the feedback of where they're at, we do a lot of work between camps logging the minutes certain players have played," said former Wales captain Giggs.
"You want a good relationship with all clubs. Sometimes it's not easy, especially for the likes of Gareth.
"They're in the middle of the Champions League, so there's a midweek game, and at Real Madrid you have to win every game.
"Every game is huge. It's just getting that balance right, how many minutes he plays, whether he misses a game and what's best for us and Real Madrid.
"Obviously, ideally I want him to play every minute of every game."
Appointed in January, Giggs has now overseen five matches in charge of Wales, winning two, losing two and drawing one.
Bale has only missed one of those fixtures, May's goalless friendly draw with Mexico in the United States.
Giggs' first match at the helm was a 6-0 thrashing of China in March, part of the China Cup friendly tournament.
The amount of money Wales received for taking part in that competition was dependent on the involvement of their highest-profile players, Bale and Aaron Ramsey.
Although next week's friendly against Spain will be played at the 74,500-capacity Principality Stadium as opposed to Wales' usual Cardiff City Stadium home, Giggs says he is under no pressure to play Bale against the former world champions for commercial reasons.
"No, not at all," he added.
"The reasons we chose to change the stadium, a lot of people can't get to the game sometimes in Cardiff, but it was a good opportunity to freshen things up and do something a little bit different.
"I've had experience playing in the stadium and it's brilliant. If we can generate that atmosphere it can be a plus for us.
"There's no pressure to play him [Bale], though."