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Giggs was always going to bring Bale off

Ryan Giggs always planned to substitute Gareth Bale during Wales' 1-0 win at Finland.

The 31-year-old star - who only appeared twice for Real Madrid when La Liga resumed after the season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic - didn't look his best in the Nations League clash, but the Wales boss has played down concerns his captain was injured.

He's quoted by BBC Sport as saying: "It was planned before - he's had no football at all.

"It was a real juggling act picking the team and Gareth has had the least amount of football out of everyone.

"It was always the plan, 45 minutes, and if he felt good, an hour.

"But I thought it was best with potentially Sunday in mind to bring him off after 45 minutes and give Harry [Wilson], who also hasn't had much football, some minutes as well."

Former Wales striker Nathan Blake insisted the best thing for Bale's fitness would be to play in more games.

He explained to BBC Radio Wales: "He is a thoroughbred athlete and it's okay training Monday to Friday, but if you're not playing at that intensity of a match then it doesn't matter who you are, you are always going to struggle.

"I made a comment saying I hadn't seen him make a run, which is a rarity.

"It's what he's built on so he is going to have to get some game time in his legs for sure."

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