Real Madrid star Gareth Bale has been left out of the Wales squad for the upcoming friendlies against Northern Ireland and Ukraine.
The 26-year-old has been suffering with a calf problem in recent months and although he has returned to the first team at the Santiago Bernabeu, he is not yet up to full speed.
With his place in the squad for the European Championships guaranteed if he remains fit, Wales manager Chris Coleman feels it is best at this stage of the season that Bale remain in the Spanish capital and work his way back to fitness with his club.
Speaking after announcing his squad for the two matches later this month, Coleman, who briefly had a spell in charge of Real Sociedad said:”It was a joint decision. Real Madrid have been absolutely first class. Both parties think it’s best that he stays where he is. He’ll benefit from that between now and the end of the season.”
Bale’s season has been hit by numerous fitness issues meaning the forward has made just 19 appearances in all competitions so far. He has scored 14 goals though, all of which have come in La Liga, the latest being in the 7-1 win over Celta Vigo on his return to first team action earlier this month.