Football

Bale ruled out

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Tottenham defender Gareth Bale is out of Wales' World Cup qualifier against Azerbaijan in Baku on Saturday.

The 19-year-old, who won his 20th cap for Wales in Friday's 1-0 win over Estonia in Llanelli, has a cartilage injury and will not be on the team's flight from Heathrow on Tuesday afternoon.

It is not clear how Bale was injured because the Football Association of Wales insist he did not pick up the problem during Friday's friendly international.

Bale was at home in Cardiff with his family on Sunday, and he was not able to travel to the team hotel in Slough on Monday.

The loss of Bale is a bitter blow to boss John Toshack, whose squad is already down to the bare bones through injuries to several key players.

Craig Bellamy, James Collins, Simon Davies and Jason Koumas have all previously been ruled out of the squad.

Toshack has also lost Manchester City striker Ched Evans and Hull defender Sam Ricketts. Evans suffered a back injury against Estonia and had a scan in Manchester on Monday, and did not re-join the squad. The back problem that kept Ricketts out of Friday's match has not improved enough for him to travel.

And there is also a doubt over West Ham midfielder Jack Collison, who limped off late in the second half of the Estonia game. Collison is only just back from a knee injury suffered at Wigan on March 4, playing West Ham's final three games of the campaign.

Toshack has called up Swansea winger Shaun MacDonald, a 20-year-old who has won 18 under-21 caps.

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Topics:
Tottenham Hotspur
Football
Manchester City
Craig Bellamy
Premier League
Cardiff City
Simon Davies
Sam Ricketts
Wigan Athletic
Jack Collison
James Collins
John Toshack
Gareth Bale
Hull City
Ched Evans
Jason Koumas
Swansea City
Shaun MacDonald

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