By Phil Blanche, PA
Gareth Bale has been ruled out of Wales’ World Cup qualifiers against the Czech Republic and Estonia with a “significant hamstring tear”.
Skipper Bale has not played since Wales’ goalless draw against Estonia on September 8 after being injured on his return to Real Madrid.
The 32-year-old was due to win his 100th cap against the Czechs and his absence for October’s double-header deals a serious blow to Wales’ qualification hopes for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
CARFAN CYMRU 🏴
Robert Page has named a 28-player squad to face Czech Republic 🇨🇿 and Estonia 🇪🇪 https://t.co/sGQARD1SZd
Llongyfarchiadau @SorbaThomas on your first Cymru call-up 👏#TogetherStronger pic.twitter.com/tO9KuiXbX8
— Wales 🏴 (@Cymru) September 28, 2021
Wales boss Robert Page is confident Bale will be fit for November’s closing two World Cup qualifiers, but said: “You grade hamstring injuries from one to four and his is nearer the four.
“So it’s quite a significant hamstring tear. We’ve been in close contact with him to see how it’s progressing but this camp has come too soon for him.
“Originally it might have been progressing into November’s camp, that’s the significance of the injury.
“Thankfully he’s recovering better than anticipated. We’re pretty certain we’ll have him for November.”
Bale’s eight-year stay in Spain has been dogged by injury and his regular absences in recent seasons have not gone down well with Real supporters.
On Bale’s latest setback, Page said: “Whether it was to do with the travelling in September’s camp and he had a build-up in fatigue in his muscles and a soft tissue injury… it’s a blow.
“Gareth is a very special player and we know he will be missed. But we can’t cry about it, we’ve got to get on with it and look at it in a positive frame of mind.”