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Gareth Bale will break Wales scoring record during 2018 qualifying - Ian Rush

Published 02/09/2016

Sam Vokes says Wales are ready to handle World Cup expectations after Euro 2016 success
Sam Vokes says Wales are ready to handle World Cup expectations after Euro 2016 success

Ian Rush is confident Gareth Bale will break his Wales goal-scoring record during the 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign.

Real Madrid star Bale moved to within six of Rush's 28-goal Wales mark this summer when he became the first player for 12 years to score in every group game of a European Championship.

And Rush says he will be delighted should Bale, who scored seven times in Euro 2016 qualifying, break his record in a World Cup campaign which starts against Moldova in Cardiff on Monday night.

"I think he will break the record in this campaign and I'd like to be there to see it," said former Liverpool striker Rush.

"Of course you're disappointed if your record goes, but records are there to be broken.

"I would celebrate it and hopefully Wales are right up there at the top of the group.

"If Gareth does it - and I'm pretty sure he will if he keeps himself fit - that means hopefully we'll be qualifying for the World Cup."

Rush's Wales goals total came from 73 games, while Bale has scored 22 times in 61 appearances.

The 27-year-old is currently joint fourth on the Wales scoring list alongside Dean Saunders, with Ivor Allchurch and Trevor Ford just above him on 23.

"If I scored free-kicks I'd have scored 60!" joked Rush.

"But Gareth is a completely different sort of player.

"He's got stronger and faster and I think there's more to come.

"Some of the goals he's scored, especially his headed goals, remind me very much of Ronaldo. I think he's learned a lot from him.

"We all know who's going to take the dead-ball situations, but when he's running powerfully he seems to have got bigger and stronger.

"That's what makes him the player he is, and I'm sure he'll get even better."

Welsh football is on a high after Chris Coleman's side reached the semi-finals of Euro 2016 this summer.

That was Wales' best performance at a major tournament and exceeded all expectations.

But Rush believes that Wales will not rest on their laurels as they attempt to reach Russia and qualify for a World Cup for the first time since 1958.

"The success we've had over the last few years has been amazing," said Rush.

"We probably over-achieved at the Euros, but we're taking it to a different level now and we just don't want to make this a one-off.

"You can't be going up and down all the time.

"You've got to take it to a different level again.

"What we achieved at the Euros was fantastic and after doing that you want to go to a World Cup."

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