The 31-year-old made two assists against Turkey on Wednesday.
Wales recorded an important victory over Turkey in the ongoing UEFA Euro 2020 on Wednesday. The 2-0 win gives them a huge chance to secure qualification from a tricky Group A alongside the Italians. A huge credit behind the result goes to skipper Gareth Bale, who delivered a spirited performance to help his side collect all three points.
The forward created a number of chances for his teammates and showcased his creativity. Due to the fact that Bale does not contain the same physical output as before, his expertise on the ball will prove crucial for the side. Although the 31-year-old missed a penalty, he provided assists for both goals against Turkey on Wednesday night.
Given his performance against Turkey, it is obvious that Wales will rely on Bale’s creative output more than his goal scoring abilities. Here are five reasons why Wales need Bale to deliver in terms of creativity with the ball if they are to advance deep into the tournament:
5. Reduced physical output
The Welshman is reaching the latter stages of his career. He clearly has lost a yard of pace and cannot put in lung-bursting runs as he could do in his younger days. In fact, he came into the limelight due to his blistering pace and superior athleticism.
However, Bale has had to adjust his game in line with his current physical capabilities. The attacker is more comfortable with the ball on his feet now, rather than chasing it down the channels. During the 2020/21 season with club and country, Bale had 2.3 shots per game ratio which indicates he is preferring to be sent the ball or be the provider himself – considering his passing accuracy.
4. Statistics against Turkey prove his creative ability
Gareth Bale was the difference between both sides in a closely fought contest on Wednesday night. Despite not featuring on the scoresheet, he created both scoring opportunities for his teammates. Moreover, Bale had five key passes in the game, which was the most for any outfield player. In addition to that, he also created seven big chances in the match, the most as well.
He also accurately delivered two out of three attempted long balls, one of which found Ramsey for the first goal. Clearly, Bale’s creative output has been growing and the new role will benefit Wales if they are to create more scoring chances in the upcoming matches.
3. Instinctive partnership with Aaron Ramsey
Wales field a 4-1-4-1 formation but have a tendency to shift into a 4-2-3-1 role where Gareth Bale drops deep to influence the build-up play. Daniel James takes the left-wing role to stretch the opposition while Aaron Ramsey fits into the No.10 role, constantly making runs behind the defenders to latch on to the aerial through balls.
Before the first goal, where Ramsey found himself at the end of Bale’s aerial through ball, the duo attempted the same move on two occasions. Third time was the charm as Bale split Turkey’s defence after developing an instinctive partnership with Ramsey who scored the opener.
2. Extra quality in the final third
Wales do not have many players who can be playmakers to provide the ball to the attackers. This is precisely why Gareth Bale drops into a deeper role to dish in crosses for a target man like Kieffer Moore. The creative output from Bale adds to the options Wales currently have.
Other figures like Danny Brooks and Harry Wilson are not experienced enough on the big stage to play the role of playmakers for the team. Daniel James has been a consistent performer on the wings, especially on the left. The Manchester United star attempted 11 crosses and completed three successful dribbles.
1. Better as a deep lying playmaker
Wales are undoubtedly a strong team in defence. They kept a clean sheet against Turkey, who had plenty of impressive goalscorers in their ranks. They have conceded more than two goals only three times in the last 21 games. It is their attacking output, which needs to match that of the defending going into the upcoming games.
They have scored 10 goals in as many games previously and need to add more attacking threat to succeed. This is where Gareth Bale is more useful to the side as he creates more chances in a deep playmaker role. The shift in position frees players like James and Joe Morrell to stretch opposition with their pace.