Chris Coleman is confident that Real Madrid star Gareth Bale can help fire Wales to their first major tournament since they reached the 1958 World Cup finals.
Wales start their bid to reach Euro 2016 when they face European minnows Andorra in their first Group B encounter. Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Israel and Cyprus are also in the group so it is imperative that Coleman’s side get off to an encouraging start on Tuesday.
Wales are 31.00 to win Euro 2016 qualifying Group B while Belgium are 1.32.
Coleman is set to name Bale as a striker for the game which will played on Andorra’s controversial artificial surface. Wales can also call on the likes of Aaron Ramsey and Ashley Williams but Coleman has singled out former Tottenham star Bale for special praise before the game.
He said: “I’ve seen Gareth play everywhere: wing-back, left wing, midfield, played across the front. I was in Madrid to watch him a few weeks ago and he started on the right, then went to the left and in the middle. He can play everywhere and it’s no secret we’ve lost Sam Vokes while Simon Church, who is an out-and-out striker, is not playing regularly for Charlton.
“We could play him down the middle because he’s a devastating offensive player and a threat wherever he plays. If we can get him on the ball in the right positions we know he can be a match-winner.”
Burnley striker Vokes has been sidelined since rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament in a 2-0 defeat to Leicester City in March, while Coleman is also without Celtic defender Adam Matthews, West Ham United defender James Collins and Reading winger Hal Robson-Kanu.