Real Madrid boost as Bale makes Wales squad after clear scan

Real Madrid have received a boost with Gareth Bale included in the Wales squad to face Spain and Republic of Ireland after a groin scan showed no sign of injury.

Bale went off at half-time in Madrid’s 0-0 draw against Atletico Madrid in La Liga last weekend and was left out for the surprise Champions League loss at CSKA Moscow on Tuesday.

Goal later revealed that the injury was not serious and he would be available to face Deportivo Alaves this weekend, which Giggs revealed the 29-year-old expects to be the case.

“He had a little groin strain, but the scan has come back clear. He expects to be involved at the weekend so that’s good,” said Giggs.

Bale could then feature against Madrid colleagues including Nacho Fernandez and Sergio Ramos when Spain visit Cardiff next Thursday, but the Wales boss was unwilling to make any guarantees over his selection.

He said: “I think every player’s motivation will be high for a number of reasons; playing for your country first and foremost, you’re playing against a very good team, it’s a chance to test yourself and it’s at a different stadium.

“With Gareth playing in Spain there will be added motivation for sure.

“I think every player will want to be involved in this game because it’s a fantastic game. It’s my decision. I’ll analyse the lads, what they’re like when they turn up.”

Wales squad in full:

Goalkeepers: Wayne Hennessey (Crystal Palace), Danny Ward (Leicester City), Adam Davies (Barnsley)

Defenders: Ashley Williams (Stoke City), James Chester (Aston Villa), Ben Davies (Tottenham), Chris Gunter (Reading), Connor Roberts (Swansea City), Chris Mepham (Brentford), Jazz Richards (Cardiff City), Ethan Ampadu (Chelsea), Paul Dummett (Newcastle United), Declan John (Swansea City)

Midfielders: Joe Allen (Stoke City), Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal), Andy King (Leicester City), David Brooks (Bournemouth), Matthew Smith (Twente, on loan from Manchester City)

Forwards: Gareth Bale (Real Madrid), Ben Woodburn (Sheffield United), Harry Wilson (Derby County), Tom Lawrence (Derby County), Sam Vokes (Burnley), George Thomas (Scunthorpe United), Tyler Roberts (Leeds United).

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Giggs warns sacking Mourinho will cause Man Utd more problems

Ryan Giggs has warned Manchester United that sacking Jose Mourinho would cause more problems than it would solve.

Talk of an imminent change in the Old Trafford dugout continues to build, with a four-game winless run seeing pressure piled onto the current man at the helm.

Various candidates are being mooted to fill Mourinho’s shoes should he be moved on, with the likes of Zinedine Zidane, Antonio Conte and Mauricio Pochettino all reported to be in the frame.

Giggs, though, believes that further disruption is the last thing that United need, with the club already onto their third manager since Sir Alex Ferguson slipped into retirement back in 2013.

The United legend and current Wales boss told reporters when asked if Mourinho should be relieved of his duties: “No. They’re going through a tough time at the moment.

“I said that last time, where do they go? Change now and you’ll be in the same position in a year or two years quite possibly.

“The problem of late has been forward planning. So just take stock, it’s a tough time, but my stance hasn’t changed.”

“I believe he should keep his job.”

Giggs’ comments stand in stark contrast to those of fellow ‘Class of ‘92’ star Paul Scholes, with the ex-United midfielder having held little back in his assessment of goings on under Mourinho.

He told BT Sport ahead of a goalless draw with Valencia in the Champions League which came on the back of a humbling 3-1 defeat at West Ham: “I’m actually slightly surprised that he survived after Saturday, the performance was that bad.

“He’s coming out in press conferences and he’s constantly having a go at players, he’s having a go at people above him because he’s not getting what he wants.

“I think his mouth is probably out of control and I think he’s embarrassing the club.”

Various other former United stars have also had their say on Mourinho’s situation, with Paul Ince accusing certain members of an underperforming squad of throwing their manager under the bus as they try to get him sacked.

It remains to be seen whether that will be the case again in the Red Devils’ next outing, with Newcastle due at Old Trafford on Saturday as they attempt to pile yet more misery on an out-of-sorts opponent.

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‘Messi has completed football’ – Winks honoured to play alongside ‘greatest ever’

Harry Winks hailed Lionel Messi as the ‘greatest ever’ after Barcelona dashed Tottenham’s Champions League hopes in Wednesday’s 4-2 win at Wembley.

Messi scored two and made two as Mauricio Pochettino’s team failed to recover from defeat in Milan two weeks ago, falling six points behind the top two in the race to qualify from Group B, and Winks believes his side were ultimately undone by the ‘exceptional’ Argentinean.

Spurs fell 2-0 behind inside the first half at Wembley before Harry Kane halved the arrears shortly after half time, only for Messi to restore Barca’s advantage with a close-range finish. Erik Lamela pulled one back for Tottenham before Messi added a fourth in the final minute.

Winks, who was starting in his first Champions League game of the season, played the full 90 minutes as he continues his rehabilitation from the ankle injury which kept him out of last season’s run-in, and afterwards spoke of his pride at having shared a pitch with the five-time Balon d’Or winner.

“I did enjoy it,” he told the Evening Standard. “To play against him was an honour. The result takes away a lot of the enjoyment from the game, but in years to come, when I look back and say I played against — in my opinion — the greatest player to ever play football, it will be a proud moment.

“It’s so difficult to reflect on that right now because we’ve lost and, ultimately, that’s the most important thing. I’m gutted.

“The only way I can really describe [facing him] is he’s just completed football. The man just knows where everybody is. His weight of pass is just exceptional. He’s just special. But everyone who has played against him has said the same thing for years.”

Winks made five Champions League appearances for Spurs last season on their run to the last-16 where they were eliminated by Juventus, and the 22-year-old England international, who broke into the first team at White Hart Lane in 2016, has relished the opportunity to learn from Europe’s finest as Tottenham seek to establish themselves as a regular presence on the continent.

“For me, it was special to play against a player like that. I learnt a lot from it. I’ll watch the game back and I’ll dissect my game. There were times when I gave the ball away sloppily, which wasn’t good enough.” 

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No Cristiano Ronaldo in Portugal squad to face Poland & Scotland

Portugal coach Fernando Santos has named his squad for the upcoming clashes against Poland and Scotland, with Cristiano Ronaldo a notable absentee.

More to follow…

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Manchester United v Newcastle United Betting: Latest odds, team news, preview and predictions

Manchester United will be desperate for victory when they welcome Newcastle United to Old Trafford for Saturday’s Premier League clash.

Jose Mourinho finds himself under mounting pressure after a run of four games without a win, with last weekend’s shock 3-1 defeat at West Ham leaving his side nine points off the top of the league in 10th place.

Latest Odds

Having not gone five matches without victory since December 2015, they are 47/100 (1.47) favourites with William Hill to return to winning ways in this one.

Also in dire straits after picking up just two points from the opening seven league games, the Magpies are available at 6/1 (7.00) to get their season up and running with a shock win here.

Martin Dubravka Newcastle 2018-19

Each of the last three fixtures at this ground have resulted in a draw, and you can get odds of 10/3 (4.33) on this one also finishing up all square.

Team News

Jesse Lingard, Ashley Young, Ander Herrera and Marcos Rojo are all doubts after missing the 0-0 Champions League draw with Valencia on Tuesday.

Salomon Rondon is ruled out due to a thigh injury, while DeAndre Yedlin, Frederico Fernandez and Paul Dummett all face late fitness tests.

Frustrating match

Although fans are not quite calling for the manager’s head, there were audible boos following the frustrating goalless stalemate against Valencia.

Man United Newcastle graphic

While they have never really set pulses racing under Mourinho, the Red Devils have looked particularly uninspired and ponderous in recent matches – scoring just three times in their last four home games.

Having put in determined defensive performances in narrow defeats to Tottenham, Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal already this campaign, Rafa Benitez’s men will back themselves to cause more frustration for the home supporters here.

Predictions

Considering Newcastle haven’t conceded more than twice in any of their seven league matches so far this season but have scored just once in three on the road, odds of 17/20 (1.85) are well worth backing on them holding a struggling Manchester United to under 2.5 goals.

Betting Banner - Best BetUnder 2.5 goals at 17/20 (1.85) for a 2pt stake with William Hill

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