Rob Page: Gareth Bale never lets Wales down

Michael Graham
Wales have a go-to guy in Bale
Wales have a go-to guy in Bale / Jean Catuffe/GettyImages

Rob Page has paid tribute to Gareth Bale after he came to Wales’s rescue against the USA.

Wales were playing their first World Cup finals game in 64 years and found themselves in trouble when Timothy Weah opened the scoring for the Americans.

However, with the clock ticking down towards a major anti-climax for the Dragons, Bale won and converted a late penalty to earn a 1-1 draw.

It was not the first time, by any means, that Bale had dug Wales out of a hole, and Page said he never had any doubts his talisman would come through for them again.

"When we got the penalty we knew who was taking it, one million percent," Page told reporters after the game. "He's never let us down, has he? Once again it's all about Bale and rightly so."

Although Bale’s record for Wales cannot be questioned, there were some who wondered whether he would be the same force in Qatar.

The 33-year-old came into the tournament having only played 28 minutes of competitive football for LAFC since September, although that was enough to play a key part in them winning the MLS Cup.

David Goldblatt & Katie Rood join Shebahn Aherne to have football's climate conversation about the World Cup in Qatar!

"Irrespective of what he does at club level, he manages to put the jersey on for Wales and give performances that surprise people," Page said. "He certainly surprised me today.

"I said to him on about 75 minutes, 'Are you OK to carry on?' And he went: 'Yes, I'm fine.' And then at the end of the game he said, 'That's why I said I'm fine.'

"He manages himself through games, so if he had gone full tilt from the first whistle, he probably would have got to half-time. So he's very experienced and clever in managing his body."

Wales will play Iran in their next game before finishing off their World Cup Group B fixtures against England.