Former Tottenham Hotspur and Real Madrid star Gareth Bale gave an update on his international future following Wales’ World Cup exit.
There has been constant speculation Bale could announce his retirement from international duty in the aftermath of the tournament, no matter when Wales’ participation came to an end. That came to pass on Tuesday night when a Marcus Rashford brace and a Phil Foden strike condemned them to a 3-0 defeat against England in their final group stage game.
That meant Robert Page’s side had taken just one point from their three games and will exit their first World Cup Finals since 1958 after finishing at the bottom of Group B. The disappointment among Bale and his team-mates was all too evident as they applauded the supporters that had made the long trip to Qatar to witness a historic moment for Welsh football.
Their side will be back in action in March when they kick off their attempts to qualify for the European Championship Finals that will be held in Germany in 2024 with a visit to Croatia. With a challenging qualification group also containing Turkey, Armenia and Latvia lying in wait, losing their talismanic captain would be seen as a major blow for the Welsh - but Bale insisted that would not be a problem, as long as he is wanted by Page.
Speaking after the England defeat, the former Spurs star told BBC Sport: “It’s been difficult this tournament, we haven’t played well. The one thing we can always take is we always given 100%, we always play with our hearts and we give everything. We can never have any regrets, we walk out with our heads held high and I am sure everyone in Wales appreciates that.
“I will keep going as long as I can, as long as I’m wanted. It’s a difficult moment now, but yeah, we go again, we have a qualifying campaign starting in March. We have a few months to get away from international football now, which is disappointing. We would have loved to have stayed longer but we go again in March.”