Dublin (AFP) – Seamus Coleman has warned Wales star Gareth Bale that the Republic of Ireland are capable of shutting him down in Friday’s vital World Cup qualifier.
The Republic’s attempts to subdue Real Madrid forward Bale will form a major part of the Group D leaders’ game-plan in Dublin.
Having seen his team snuff out Sweden striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic at Euro 2016, Republic captain Coleman is confident they can do the same to Bale.
“We are a team which has played against big players in the past – I remember when we played Sweden in the summer, all the talk was about Zlatan and it’s quite similar this time,” Coleman said on Thursday.
“But we are fully focused on our job and looking forward to the game. Look, as I said, we were getting asked the same questions in the summer about certain players and you have got another 10 players on the pitch you have got to worry about.
“We know he’s a world-class player and we are going to have to be careful and get tight to him in certain areas, but we can’t just fully focus on Gareth Bale.
“They have got a lot of good players and we need to make sure they worry about us as well.”
Everton right-back Coleman needs no reminding of just how good Bale can be having had to deal with him in the wake of one of his finest performances in a Tottenham shirt back in October 2010.
Three days after the former Southampton trainee had scored a Champions League hat-trick against Inter Milan at the San Siro, Coleman and his Everton team-mates travelled to White Hart Lane and secured a 1-1 draw.
“When he was doing really well against the likes of Inter Milan, I was a right midfielder and whenever we played them, it was a doubling-up job with Phil Neville. It had to be done,” he said.
“But he’s really kicked on and he’s gone on to great things.”
Republic manager Martin O’Neill was giving nothing away on his plans to shackle Bale, but admitted there would be times when the 27-year-old would hurt his side.
“Of course there are going to be moments in matches when great players extricate themselves from difficult positions and cause you problems – that’s why they are great players,” he said.
“It’s that type of thing that we will try to cut to a minimum if we can. But naturally being a brilliant player, he will cause us problems.”
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