Ryan Giggs is adamant Gareth Bale will put his Real Madrid troubles behind him when he joins up with the Wales squad next week.
Bale has been targeted by disgruntled Real fans as the club have crashed out of the Copa del Rey and Champions League and been left trailing in LaLiga by leaders Barcelona in recent weeks.
Team-mates Marcelo and Thibaut Courtois also complained of Bale failing to interact with the Real dressing room by not speaking Spanish and choosing to go to bed early rather than meet up with the rest of the squad for an evening meal.
The return of Zinedine Zidane as manager may also make the situation more difficult for Bale, as it is understood the two men did not have a great relationship by the time the former France World Cup winner left Real last June.
Bale is currently nursing an ankle injury suffered on Champions League duty, but Giggs is confident that he will have recovered in time to play in Wales’ opening Euro 2020 qualifier against Slovakia on March 24.
“He’s an experienced player. He’s a quality player and a quality person,” Giggs said after naming a 31-man squad for a Wrexham friendly with Trinidad & Tobago on March 20 and the Slovakia game in Cardiff.
🏴 CARFAN CYMRU
— Wales 🏴 (@Cymru) March 12, 2019
“I expect Gareth to turn up and do what he always does, give everyone a lift.
“When he plays for Wales, he gives 100 per cent and more often than not he performs well.
“I don’t expect anything different because he’s always brilliant around the camp.”
Bale has won four Champions League titles during his six years in Spain and Giggs says the forward has proved he is strong enough to handle any flak that comes his way.
“I played for United and you are open to criticism when you are at a big club,” Giggs said.
“Everyone has had it. The two Ronaldos had it out in Madrid, Gareth has had it.
“You have to put up with that, just like you have to put up with all the adulation when you win leagues and Champions Leagues.
“It comes with the territory. So you have to take the rough with the smooth.”
Wales have lost Aston Villa defender James Chester and Leicester midfielder Andy King to injury and handed a first call-up to Rotherham midfielder Will Vaulks.
READ | Proud Vaulks relishing international challenge.
Read about how the #rufc midfielder learned of his first call-up to the @Cymru squad after a phone call from Ryan Giggs and how he is keen to impress on the national stage after a tough week.⬇️https://t.co/Ql2ZQ55LtT
— Rotherham United (@OfficialRUFC) March 12, 2019
Vaulks, who has played for Tranmere, Workington and Falkirk, was born in Wirral and qualifies for Wales through his mother.
“It’s been an interesting journey for Will,” Giggs said.
“Released by Tranmere, he was in the system in Wales at 15, 16, then went up to Scotland and came back down to England and is now captain of Rotherham.
“It’s a fantastic story and just proves never give up.”
Giggs confirmed that Ashley Williams will remain Wales captain for the forthcoming European Championship campaign.
The 83-times capped central defender, now 34 and on loan at Stoke from Everton, has worn the Wales armband since 2012.
“He will be the captain as long as he is in the squad,” Giggs said.