Rob Page reveals reason for Gareth Bale half-time substitution

Gareth Bale did not have the World Cup he would have wanted
Gareth Bale did not have the World Cup he would have wanted / Justin Setterfield/GettyImages

Wales boss Rob Page confirmed Gareth Bale was withdrawn at half-time in the World Cup defeat to England due to a hamstring injury.

Bale came into the World Cup with very little recent football under his belt, and that appeared to catch up with him in the 3-0 defeat.

He left the action at half-time to be replaced by Brennan Johnson, and Page said that was not his decision.

“Five minutes before half-time, Gareth felt his hamstring,” Page told BBC Sport about Bale's substitution. “Joe Allen and Ben Davies had to come off as well. It was a massive effort from all the group and I couldn’t be more proud of them.”

The defeat rounded off a poor World Cup for Wales, who had a feel of a team at the end of an era in Qatar.

For Page, though, the real success was to qualify and he says the challenge now is to make sure it’s not a one-off.

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“It’s very tough to take at this moment in time,” he said. “I thought in the first half we were outstanding – the effort we put in without the ball was exceptional.

“We could have kept the ball better but I won’t have a bad word said about that group of players; they’ve given everything today. The second goal disappoints me a little bit, but I don’t want to talk about negatives today.

“My message is: don’t do disappointed. We’ll build again for the future now, and to get to the World Cup is an unbelievable achievement for that group of players.