Gareth Bale could miss Wales Nations League opener due to LAFC schedule

Gareth Bale is at risk of missing Wales’ Nations League game in Belgium, despite having planned a transatlantic run to join Robert Page’s side.

Bale is due to play for his MLS club Los Angeles FC in the early hours of Monday morning UK time and will not arrive in Wales until Tuesday.

Wales will train at their Vale of Glamorgan base on Wednesday before flying to Brussels for their penultimate Nations League encounter the following evening.

Boss Page said: “We haven’t gone into specifics yet, but all we know is that it will be affected.

“He’s not going to land until Tuesday and we have to get him from Heathrow.

“There will be a lot of planning in terms of, ‘Is he going to be ready for the first game against Belgium?’

“Otherwise, obviously, we might have to leave him for the game against Poland.

“But his safety and health is the most important thing, so we will have to deal with that.

“We want him in perfect condition, we don’t want him to be tired before games and run the risk of injury.”

Despite being in the United States for less than three months, Bale already owns the best-selling shirt in all of MLS.

But the Wales captain got off to a slow start on the LAFC pitch after his trophy-laden nine-year spell at Real Madrid ended in the summer.

He has made 10 appearances for the United but has only started twice and is yet to play 90 minutes for his new club.

In just over five hours of football, Bale has scored twice as he builds up his fitness ahead of the World Cup in November.

Page said: “He plays minutes. We want him to play more minutes, of course, but I’m not too worried.

“No matter how many minutes he plays, I know that when he comes to camp, even if he doesn’t play, he will be ready to play for us.

“We are not going to put him in danger. We are going to the World Cup.

“We want to stay in the division (Nations League), but we won’t mess around and push it.

“You’re going to have to deal with that with jet lag and jet lag. We’ll take him to camp, assess him and make a plan.

Wales complete their Nations League program against Poland in Cardiff on September 25, three days after the game against Belgium.

It will be their last match before the World Cup, with Wales likely to beat Poland to retain their place in the Nations League top flight.

Page, who signed a four-year deal this week to be in charge of the Euro 2024 and 2026 World Cup qualifying campaigns, expects Bale, 33, to be around for a while .

He said: “We want Gareth to stay involved for as long as he can. He can have an influence on the young players of each camp.

“I don’t think there will be a mass of six or seven players leaving (after the World Cup).

“They respect the culture so much that they don’t want it to have a serious impact.”

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