Wales can still win without Gareth Bale, Connor Roberts insists

Connor Roberts is confident Wales can cope without Gareth Bale and keep their World Cup dream alive.

Wales talisman Bale has missed out on winning his 100th cap in the Czech Republic on Friday after suffering what has been described as a “significant hamstring tear”.

The Real Madrid forward will also sit out Monday’s trip to Estonia and is a doubt for the closing home qualifiers against Belarus and Belgium next month.

But Roberts insists Wales can overcome the loss of Bale and secure the second spot behind probable group winners Belgium that will book their place in the World Cup play-offs.

“You can’t replace Gareth,” Roberts said. “But when he’s not here we have to play even more as a team, understand certain players and what they’re good at.

“Gaz hasn’t played in the past and we’ve played very well, we’ve looked a decent team. There’s going to be a time when he’s moved on and he’s not playing football anymore.

“We need to call on others players, the likes of Harry Wilson and Kieffer Moore. We have other good players and they need to show what they can do when they get the chance.”

Wales enter their away double-header level on points with the second-placed Czech Republic and with a game in hand.

The Dragons – who are almost certainly guaranteed a World Cup play-off place due to their Nations League results last year – beat the Czechs 1-0 in Cardiff in March through Daniel James’ late header.

“It’s going to be hard because they’ve got some unbelievable players who are playing regular in the Premier League,” Roberts said.

“But we’ll keep going and give absolutely everything until the final whistle. It’s up to other players to step up and hopefully we can get a tidy result there.”

Gaz (Bale) hasn’t played in the past and we’ve played very well, we’ve looked a decent team.

Roberts has yet to play for Burnley since joining from Swansea on the final day of the summer transfer window in August.

The 26-year-old full-back or wing-back underwent groin surgery after being injured in Wales’ Euro 2020 defeat to Denmark in June.

“I’ve played a couple of under-23s games and trained for a couple of weeks,” said Roberts. “I know my body and I know what type of person I am. I feel pretty much 100 per cent ready to go, ready to play my part.

“I know people will look from the outside, and even on the inside, and say ‘you haven’t played for a while’. It is a change because I’ve never really been injured before, so I don’t know exactly how I would be in the first game back.

“But in myself I feel ready to go and, if anything, I feel a little bit more determined to get out there and prove that I’m still a decent player.

“If I’ve had some minutes for Wales and are more match fit it will benefit Burnley. I’m looking forward to getting my fitness to where it was and getting my chance in the Premier League.”

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