Ryan Giggs isn’t panicking about Gareth Bale’s form and fitness and reckons the Wales star is just ‘rusty’.
Wales’ record scorer was subbed at half-time in Thursday’s 1-0 win in Finland on his return to action after failing to feature in Real Madrid ’s final eight games.
Real boss Zinedine Zidane has frozen Bale out as he wants to shift the outcast and his mega wages of over £600,000-a-week.
Bale was back watching in the dugout as Kieffer Moore fired the late winner but the 31-year-old forward will captain his country again when Bulgaria visit on Sunday.
Wales boss Giggs said: “He is our record goalscorer and he is a player who can score goals and will score goals.
“That is not an issue for me. The issue for me is that we are winning games no matter who scores.
“Our centre forward scored and if the centre-forward isn’t scoring we have other players who can contribute as well – Gareth being one of them.
“With the situation at Madrid he had had a little bit of time off. You get a little holiday and his training with us was the first he had.
“You are going to be a little bit rusty no matter who you are.
“But Gareth is a really good professional. He will be all the better for that 45 minutes the other night.
“I was pleased with Gareth as he only did two or three days’ training.
“So it was the plan for 45 minutes or an hour.
“He was short of minutes but he is fit for selection for Sunday.
“I am always happy with Gareth when he comes away and is someone everyone looks up to.
“He just needs to get more training time and minutes.”
Bale was the match-winner back in 2011, in the previous clash against Bulgaria, in a 1-0 away triumph.
Ahead of in-form Wales’ next Nations League match, Giggs added: “Confidence is high.
“We re-visited the last game what we did well and what we can do better. But I was really happy with the win in Finland because we had to grind it out.
“Now I am hoping for a more positive performance.”
Bournemouth ’s in-demand winger David Brooks has now joined up with the squad after shrugging off an ankle injury that wrecked his last season.
“It is a bonus, great news, we were keeping in touch with Bournemouth,” added Giggs.
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Giggs has kept faith with Wayne Hennessey in goal despite losing his No.1 spot at Crystal Palace.
Hennessey now has a record 35 clean sheets in 90 caps – eclipsing his idol Neville Southall.
The keeper said: “He was my hero growing up. I always wanted to be like Neville Southall.
“It is an amazing achievement and I am really happy to get the record but I don’t think he will be too happy.”
Wales (4-2-3-1): Hennessey; Williams, Lockyer, Ampadu, Davies; Morrell, Levitt; Bale, Brooks, James; Moore.