Wales will have to come to terms with the news that their star man Gareth Bale will miss their World Cup qualifying games against Georgia and Republic of Ireland through injury.
Bale had missed Real Madrid’s win over Espanyol on the weekend through calf soreness, but initially it was thought that he would be okay for international duty.
However news has now emerged that he will miss Wales’ crucial games in their bid to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.
While the Wales camp have not yet confirmed the news, it is being reported by several outlets both local and national.
Real manager Zinedine Zidane said last weekend that Bale was suffering from “muscle fatigue”, but added it was “nothing important”.
“He could have played with us [against Espanyol] but I preferred to leave him out as he had a small complaint,” Zidane said on Sunday. “He’s fine. After so many games at the start of the season and four months of injury, he was suffering after the game in Dortmund.”
He reported for international duty with the rest of the squad on Monday, and took part in a light training session with the players who featured in the Premier League on Sunday.
Wales are currently in second place in Group D, four points behind Serbia and one points ahead of Republic of Ireland.
Who will step up?
It was thought that manager Chris Coleman could be set to ditch his five-at-the-back formation and go with the 4-3-3 that finished the 2-0 win over Moldova.
However, with Bale out it is unlikely that Coleman would bring in two new wingers alongside Aaron Ramsey.
Wales will probably revert to their famous 5-2-3, with Liverpool’s Ben Woodburn taking Bale’s place in the attacking trident with Ramsey and one of Sam Vokes or Hal Robson-Kanu.
Woodburn has been knocking on the door to start these games, after the 17-year-old made quite the impression in Wales’ last two qualifiers.
He came off the bench to score the winning goal against Austria, and then changed the game once again from the bench in Moldova, where he set up the opening goal.