Can Gareth Bale carry Wales to European Championships glory?
Wales is one of the biggest underdogs in the European Championships. They will mostly rely on captain and star player Gareth Bale to carry them to victory. However, people should not overlook his supporting cast since they can surprise the viewers with their productivity.
Back in 2016, Wales had a magical run to the semifinals due to the brilliance of their squad. Unfortunately, some of their star players during that run are missing from the current squad due to injuries and other issues. They reached the semis only to lose to eventual champions Portugal.
Being beaten by the winner of the event is a big deal for Wales who are not seen as a European powerhouse. They come into this year’s event as an underdog which means they have the chance to surprise everyone again. Bale is not the same player from 2016 but he can still put on amazing performances and his supporting cast is filled with some solid players.
Does Bale have to carry the load?
Bale is arguably Wales’ best player of all time. He will have to carry a big part of the offensive system given that he can use his skill set to lift Wales to a competitive level. However, some players have stepped up including winger Daniel James. Both James and Bale will be the main options on both flanks on offence.
Most pundits believe Bale can bounce back from the struggles he has gone through over the past few years. Former Wales striker and manager Mark Hughes sees Bale stepping up to the plate when the event comes around.
‘A lot of top players get to the end of seasons and it's on the back of 50 or 60 really high-level games and Gareth doesn't have that’, Hughes said. ‘We need Gareth playing at the top of his form and if he is then he will prove a huge asset to us’.
‘We haven't got that strength in depth that England or one of the top nations have’, he continued. ‘You want your top players playing well to inspire the others so we need the likes of Bale and the other guys I've mentioned to be right on their game’.
Wales is the underdog people should be wary of
With the experience they got from 2016, this team should be a big threat. They can explode out of the gate and possibly turn the tide against stronger teams. People will overlook them which is the chance to surprise the favourites.
While France, Belgium, and Portugal are the favourites to win the event, you should not overlook Wales as a dark horse of this event. There will be some critics of their team but they should be well aware of Wales’ capabilities given that they had a Cinderella run in the same event in 2016.
Words: Cholo Martin