Real Madrid star Gareth Bale was voted Welsh player of the year for a record fifth time on Monday. Bale won the award after being involved in eight of Wales’ nine goals in their UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying campaign, scoring six times and providing two assists.
The former Tottenham Hotspur forward’s efforts have left Wales on the brink of qualifying for their first major tournament in 58 years. Chris Coleman’s side need one point from their final two qualifiers against Bosnia-Herzegovina away and Andorra at home to make it to the finals in France next year. Bale was also named players’ player of the year and fans’ player of the year at a Cardiff ceremony.
“Look at the last year and he’s scored some incredible goals for us,” Coleman said. “All the players have done fantastic, but in my book he deserves it because of what he’s done in this campaign.”
Meanwhile, Coleman has accused the major European nations of being scared to play his side ahead of EURO 2016. Coleman wants two November friendlies against top-class opposition in what should be the start of Wales’ build-up for the finals. But Italy are among the countries to reject the offer of a Wales friendly, much to Coleman’s frustration.
“We thought that we might be able to tempt a Spain or a Germany and find out how good we are, but there’s been no interest,” Coleman said. “We were turned down by one or two and Italy didn’t want to play us.
“Look at the friendly games and the big boys keep it among themselves. That’s disappointing. We’re in that spot where we are a danger to some of the big boys in that we could win. Maybe they are scared of us.”