Gareth Bale offered role in Wales set-up ahead of Euro 2024 after retiring following talks with Robert Page

NEW CALLING GARETH BALE is wanted by Wales boss Robert Page in their future set-up despite his retirement.

The Dragons most-capped player with 111 appearances and record goalscorer on 41 announced he had called time on his glittering career on Monday and left the door open for a possible return one day.

Gareth Bale has been offered a coaching role with Wales by boss Robert Page
Bale told Page as well as club side Los Angeles FC in the MLS on Sunday of his decision to retire at the age of 33.

But Page has held talks with Bale and the talisman could make a non-playing comeback ahead of the Euro 2024 qualifiers in March in either a coaching or ambassadorial role.

Page said: “I’ve had that conversation but I would love him still to be involved in some capacity. Now what that role is, we don’t know yet.

“He just needs some time with his family. It’s a big adjustment for him, training every day to go into a normalish life and doing the school run, but we’ll have another conversation with him in a few weeks.

“We’ll make a plan moving forward because he’s got so much to offer. Even his presence in the dressing room, the hotel environment is something I would be really keen on to keep him involved, but I’ll leave it up to Gareth and what suits him and his family. I think he would be keen as well.

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“You’ve seen Belgium do it with Thierry Henry. Ex-players stepping up, whether it’s a coaching role, an ambassadorial role, or being part of a committee making decisions. I’m sure the FAW (Football Association of Wales) would also be keen to keep Gareth involved in some capacity.”

Bale bows out from playing following a disappointing performance at the World Cup where Wales exited at the group stage.

The ex-Tottenham and Real Madrid star struggled for match fitness and Page was in full agreement of his captain’s decision to hung up his boots.

Page told BBC Radio Wales: “Gareth messaged me on Sunday to say he needed a conversation. I knew it was something significant, I was out and about at the time but I said, ‘Look, I’ll be back in half an hour and I’ll give you a ring.

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“When he announced it to me it didn’t come as a complete surprise. I think he’d just got off the phone to LA and told them of his decision. For him to make the decision was a massive moment.

“I told him, ‘I agree with your decision and I think it’s the right time to bow out. You’ve just scored in a World Cup and got everything on your CV, what you’ve achieved with Wales is incredible. You should be enormously proud.

“I said I respected him for letting me know and giving me a heads up. I wished him all the best and said he’s been an unbelievable servant.

“I have been blessed to have an opportunity to work with him. He’s such a wonderful person, not just a good talented footballer. He’s a nice person and he will be a loss in that changing room because he’s such a presence.”

Wales face Croatia in their Euro 2024 qualification opener in Split on March 25. Would Bale have started had he not retired?

Page said: “He would have had a part to play. I would have selected him in the squad. The roles might have changed slightly. “Would he be able to play 90 minutes back to back?

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“Lessons have been learned from Qatar, the athleticism every team had out there. It’s too big an ask probably for him, he might have been an impact player coming off the bench.

“There’s a mixture of emotions for me. I’m excited now because it’s an opportunity to get some of the young ones through – players like Brennan Johnson to take the opportunity and step up to the plate – and get the next Gareth Bale. There will be changes made in March.

“But there’s also a hint of sadness because it’s the last time we’ll see Gareth Bale putting a pair of boots on to play for Wales. He’s got a wonderful family that he will now enjoy spending time with. There might be the odd round of golf in there as well!”

Bale’s best moment? Page added: “It’s the free-kick against Ukraine to get us to the World Cup. That celebration after. Wow. It makes me emotional just thinking about it. That’s the best moment for me.”