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Wales will miss star forward Gareth Bale when they host Spain in an international friendly at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff on Thursday.
Coach Ryan Giggs said Bale has been ruled out with “muscle fatigue,” per BBC Sport. Not having the Real Madrid striker available is a major blow for the former Manchester United man.
Spain’s attack will also be below strength, with Real playmaker Isco and Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa expected to miss out, according to Goal’s Phil Kitromilides.
Date: Thursday, October 11
Time: 7:45 p.m. BST/2:45 p.m. ET
TV Info: Sky Sports Football
Odds (per OddsShark)
Burnley striker Sam Vokes isn’t worried about Bale not being available, per BBC Sport: “Gareth is massive for us, but we’ve got a lot of players playing at top level now. They are playing regularly as well, and that can only help us. If there are players missing there are others ready to step in.”
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Vokes has made a solid start to the season, scoring in his last two matches for the Clarets. His aggression and power in the air will be key to making Spain’s back line uncomfortable.
One match-winner Giggs can still rely on is Arsenal playmaker Aaron Ramsey. The 27-year-old scored a peach of a goal during the Gunners’ 5-1 win away to Fulham in the Premier League on Sunday.
The former Cardiff City man also tallied an assist against the Cottagers, his third of the campaign.
Despite his obvious talent, Ramsey is expected to leave Arsenal, either in January or when his contract expires next summer.
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Former Wales international Craig Bellamy told Sky Sports‘ The Debate Ramsey needs a fresh start at club level: “He’s become conscious of some players that have stayed too long at Arsenal and not got the best out of their ability. He’s a tremendous footballer that has had injuries.”
Ramsey can prove his worth to potential suitors if he asserts himself against a Spanish midfield loaded with talent. Luis Enrique has called up Atletico duo Koke and Saul Niguez, along with Real schemer Marco Asensio and Thiago Alcantara of Bayern Munich.
This group should ensure La Roja own the ball in Cardiff. They will need to supply a forward line featuring Chelsea’s Alvaro Morata with chances.
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Other strikers, including Iago Aspas and Paco Alcacer are in form. The ex-Liverpool man already has five goals in eight league appearances for Celta Vigo, while Barcelona attacker Alcacer has hit seven goals to start his loan spell with Borussia Dortmund.
Spain have the guile in midfield and firepower up front to overcome a Wales side sure to miss the cutting edge Bale provides.