Ireland must hit Bale hard - Keane targeting Wales star

Ireland welcome Bale and his Wales team-mates to the Aviva Stadium on Friday night for a vital World Cup qualifier knowing all too well the danger the Real Madrid man poses.

But he says Ireland will not set up any differently to deal with him.

"Players and coaches have tried to come up with a plan (to stop him) before, but top players figure it out and affect the game anyway".

Real Madrid attacker Bale is unquestionably Wales' key player and, with 26 global goals, he is closing in on the record set by his compatriot, former Liverpool striker Ian Rush.

"I remember at Wolves that he was almost coming to us on loan in one of the transfer windows".

Former Manchester United midfielder Keane said in The Times: "I can't say we've got a particular plan but we've got good players who are up against him".

That may be easier said than done with Real Madrid star Bale hoping to take advantage of O'Neill's selection problems, and Ward is under no illusions as to the task ahead of the Irish defence.

Assistant manager Roy Keane admitted on Tuesday that McCarthy was unlikely to make the game if he did not train the following day, but Ireland have not yet given up on the player.

"He's a top, top player", added Keane. He's been doing it for years.

Fast, powerful and with a lethal left foot, the Wales worldwide literally has it all and is virtually impossible to stop at times.

"I have some thoughts about trying to keep him quiet". I think players should look at these things on DVDs - if I was marking on him or getting close to him, I'd be looking to see if he turns that way or this direction. I even liked him when I was manager at Sunderland (Bale was a teenager at Southampton). Don't let him get his head up like he does at Real Madrid.

"You want to play with the best and against the best, and we'll have a chance on Friday because Bale is up there with some of the top players in the world".

"Do you know what?"

Tottenham left back Davies told Sky Sports News that it's natural that Ireland and other opponents look to Bale as the main creative source but feels that Wales have other players that can step up and cause damage.

  • Julie Sanders