Brooks backed to cause Ireland problems as Wales lose Bale for Dublin clash

David Brooks has been backed to fill the Wales void left by Gareth Bale’s absence for the Nations League tie with the Republic of Ireland.

Bale has been suffering with what Wales manager Ryan Giggs has described as “muscle fatigue” and missed Thursday’s 4-1 friendly defeat to Spain.

Wales had been hoping Bale would recover in time for Tuesday’s tie in Dublin, but he returned to his club Real Madrid on Sunday for further examination.

The loss of Bale, the country’s record goalscorer, is a huge blow for Wales, but Ben Davies believes Brooks will cause Ireland problems at the Aviva Stadium.

The 21-year-old has made an impressive start to his Premier League career at Bournemouth, scoring in his last two appearances for the Cherries, and was Wales’ best player after coming on as a second-half substitute against Spain.

“Gareth is a massive loss for any team and we’ll have to adapt,” said Tottenham defender Davies.

“But he (Brooks) is a top player.

“He has a lot of ability and talent that defenders just don’t want to come up against.

“We’ll have a good attacking threat in him against Ireland.”

Wales are determined to make amends after disappointing a 50,000-plus Principality Stadium crowd on Thursday.

Spain were 3-0 ahead inside 29 minutes and Davies revealed strong words were spoken in the dressing room at half-time.

Asked if Giggs had given the players the ‘hairdryer’ treatment, Davies said: “Yes, of course – and I think he was right to.

“We weren’t at it and teams like Spain are going to punish you. That’s what they did.

Denmark v Wales – UEFA Nations League – League B – Group Four – Ceres Park
Ben Davies says Wales head to Dublin determined to make up for their limp display against Spain on Thursday (Tim Goode/PA)

“The goals we conceded weren’t anything special, that’s the disappointing thing.

“The words that were said will stay in the dressing room, but we have to do better than we did and hang on in there.

“We have to make sure we are at it against Ireland.”

Wales are expected to reshuffle at the back and revert to a four-man defence after playing five defenders against Spain.

Ethan Ampadu and Chris Mepham are both injured and James Chester should resume his partnership with skipper Ashley Williams at the heart of the defence.

“I’m sure Ireland will be looking to turn the result from the last game,” Chester said, reflecting on Wales’ 4-1 Nations League win in Cardiff last month.

“We’ve had some good games against them recently and this will be no different.

“It was tough against Spain – a realisation of how good you’ve got to be to get to the top in international football.

“But the Ireland game was always the most important when we came into camp.”

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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