GARETH BALE is a doubt for Wales’ Nations League clash in Belgium next week.
The 33-year-old Dragons captain will play for MLS’s LAFC against the Houston Dynamo in the early hours of Monday morning.
Next, Bale is due to catch a 10.5-hour flight to London from Los Angeles on Tuesday, just two days before the Brussels brawl.
But with time zones, jet lag and fatigue, Wales boss Robert Page won’t take any chances with him ahead of the World Cup.
Page said: “We know he will be affected. There will be a lot of planning to see if he will be ready for the game against Belgium. Otherwise, we may have to leave him for the game against Poland.
“We want it in perfect condition. We’re not going to put him in danger. »
Wales host Poland three days later on September 25, but could already be confined to bottom of League A Group 4 if they lose to Belgium and Poland get at least one point against Wales. Netherlands.
And Page will need all the firepower he can get as Wales have won just one of their last six games – the crucial World Cup qualifier against Ukraine. .
Bale has also been in bad shape since his move to MLS, scoring just two goals in 11 games in all competitions.
In fact, LAFC performed better when the Welshman wasn’t on the pitch.
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MLS reporter Matthew Doyle revealed that LAFC had a -7 goal difference with the five-time Champions League winner on the pitch in the 375 minutes he played.
But when Bale is substituted or absent, LAFC has over 33 in the goal department in 2,800 minutes.
However, Bale sold the most shirts, ahead of fellow former Premier League stars Carlos Vela and Chicharito.
And luckily for LAFC, Bale’s poor form hasn’t loosened their grip on the top spot in the Western Conference.
It is the first time Bale will make the 5,500-mile journey from California to Cardiff on international duty since his summer transfer to the United States.
But Page has faith in Bale, 106 caps, thanks to his classy brace against Austria and free-kick against Ukraine in March and June which took Wales to November’s World Cup at a time when he had limited action in Spain.
Page added: « Of course in an ideal world we want him to play more minutes, but I’m not too worried. He has proven it to us over and over again. If he hadn’t, I’d be worried.
“As long as he keeps putting free kicks in the top corner, there is no problem. He showed up with the right mindset against Austria and Ukraine and scored the goals he scored. You don’t do that unless you have a tough mind.
« But if he plays 10 minutes, that’s more than he was playing before he scored those important goals for us. So everything he plays is a bonus.
“He takes care of himself, he is the ultimate professional in each camp. Whatever minutes he plays, I know that when he comes to camp, he will be ready to play for us. »