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Bale included as Wales push for Euro 2016 place

26 August 2015, 19:18

London - Gareth Bale has been included in Wales's squad for next week's European 2016 qualifiers against Cyprus and Israel as his country eyes an appearance at a first major football finals in more than 50 years.

The Real Madrid forward, transferred to the Spanish giants from London club Tottenham Hotspur for a world record fee of 85.3 million ($133.3 million, 116.6 million euros) in September 2013, had been doubtful with a toe injury suffered in Sunday's goalless draw with Sporting Gijon.

Also read: Barca appeal against Suarez, Rakitic, Vermaelen cautions

But an X-ray revealed only bruising and Bale, who has scored five goals in the qualifying campaign, was included in a 23-man squad announced by Wales manager Chris Coleman on Wednesday.

Liverpool midfielder Joe Allen, suspended for the match away to Cyprus on September 3, was not included in the squad after a hamstring injury meant he would also be unavailable for the match with Israel in Cardiff three days later.

Defenders James Collins and Ben Davies, who both missed the 1-0 victory over Belgium in June through injury, have been recalled.

Meanwhile, uncapped Liverpool rising star Jordan Williams, currently on loan at English third tier club Swindon, has been included in a Wales squad for the first time.

Unbeaten Wales top Group B with 14 points from six games and are three points clear of second-placed Belgium.

Wins over Cyprus and Israel would see Wales into their first major tournament finals since the 1958 World Cup.

"This period of my career is my biggest," Coleman said Wednesday. "I know what the dangers are.

"You can feel it around the country; the belief is there, the excitement is there, the anxiety. The pressure is massive but this is what we've always wanted," he added.

Wales squad for the Euro 2016 Group B qualifiers away to Cyprus in Nicosia on September 3 and at home to Israel in Cardiff on September 6:

Goalkeepers: Wayne Hennessey (Crystal Palace/ENG), Danny Ward (Liverpool/ENG, on loan with Aberdeen/SCO), Owain Fon Williams (Tranmere Rovers/ENG)

Defenders: Ashley Williams (Swansea City), James Chester (Hull City/ENG), James Collins (West Ham United/ENG), Ben Davies (Tottenham Hotspur/ENG), Chris Gunter (Reading/ENG), Neil Taylor (Swansea City), Adam Henley (Blackburn Rovers/ENG), Ashley Richards (Fulham/ENG)

Midfielders: Andy King (Leicester City/ENG), Joe Ledley (Crystal Palace/ENG), Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal/ENG), Jordan Williams (Liverpool/ENG, on loan with Swindon Town/ENG), David Edwards (Wolverhampton Wanderers/ENG), Shaun MacDonald (AFC Bournemouth/ENG)

Forwards: Gareth Bale (Real Madrid/ESP), Hal Robson-Kanu (Reading/ENG), Sam Vokes (Burnley/ENG), Simon Church (Charlton Athletic/ENG), David Cotterill (Birmingham City/ENG), Tom Lawrence (Leicester City/ENG, on loan with Blackburn Rovers/ENG)


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