Bale & Co close ranks behind coach Coleman

LONDON • An emotional Gareth Bale was among a group of players who pleaded with Chris Coleman to stay as Wales manager after the team's failure to reach next year's World Cup Finals in Russia.

A number of players and staff were in tears when Bale, who missed Monday's 1-0 defeat by Ireland in their final qualifier through injury, went to the dressing room and spoke to Coleman. There were further appeals at the team hotel.

Coleman's two-year contract runs until the end of next month and he had been adamant that the World Cup campaign would be his last, although his stance is thought to have softened recently.

The Football Association of Wales wants the dust to settle, as does Coleman, before talks take place, although the 47-year-old said on Monday that he expected to be in charge next month, when Wales might play two friendlies.

There will be pressure to persuade him to stay from Bale, who is close to Coleman.

"Of course we want him to stay," Bale said. "What he has done for the team and Welsh football has been amazing. He couldn't have taken on the job at a more difficult time and what we've achieved since then has been amazing."

The alternatives are limited and former players and possible candidates such as Craig Bellamy and Ryan Giggs could face opposition.

While Coleman ponders his position, Australia coach Ange Postecoglou passed up the chance to clarify his future yesterday, after local media reported he would quit after next month's intercontinental World Cup play-off against Honduras.

THE TIMES, LONDON, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 12, 2017, with the headline 'Bale & Co close ranks behind coach Coleman'. Print Edition | Subscribe