Belfast Telegraph

Gareth Bale: We are all in this great adventure together for Wales

By Phil Blanche

Gareth Bale has insisted Wales are not a one-man band at Euro 2016.

Real Madrid striker Bale scored seven of Wales’ 11 goals in qualifying for France, as well as claiming two assists, as the nation ended a 58-year wait for a major tournament, but the world’s most expensive player shunned the one-man team label as he addressed the media ahead of Wales’ tournament opener against Slovakia tomorrow.

“It’s never a one-man team, for us it’s a squad thing,” said Bale.

“We’re together stronger and it’s there for a reason — we don’t just say it for no reason.

“We all work hard as one unit, we attack as one and we defend as one. When we lose the ball we all fight back to get it.

“People can write what they want, but we all know that we work very hard on the training pitch every day.”

Bale carries the hopes of a nation on his shoulders, but he says he is unconcerned by the weight of expectation.

Neither is he bothered by the possibility that he could be a marked man at the tournament, and the 26-year-old has no interest in calling for greater protection from referees.

“I just want to go out and play football, to enjoy myself on the pitch,” said Bale. “We all get on so well, we are like brothers.”

“Obviously you’d like to think you’ll get protection but all referees are different. You hope that they referee the game fairly — that’s all you can ask for really.”

Wales follow the Slovakia opener in Bordeaux with games against England and Russia with the focus very much on getting to the knock-out stages.

“We do not want to come here and make up the numbers,” said Bale. “We have done something that we have not done in a long time, but now we want to do even better.

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