Wales manager Chris Coleman has earmarked Gareth Bale as a future 'false nine' for his country, and hopes to use the Tottenham star in a similar way to Lionel Messi is utilised by Barcelona.

Bale will start on the wing for Wales against Austria on Wednesday night, but Coleman feels that the 23-year-old has the attributes to flourish in a more central attacking role.

The Tottenham player has scored two stunning goals in his latest two outings for Spurs to highlight his credentials for a more advanced position, with a fine solo effort against Norwich followed by a piledriver versus West Brom.

A switch into the middle could prove beneficial for both club and country, with Spurs currently bereft of strikers following the injury to Jermain Defoe and failure to bring reinforcements to White Hart Lane in the January transfer window.

Bale led the line for Tottenham during the pre-season tour of the United States, and Coleman has plans to do so with the former Southampton man in the future, and has highlighted Messi as a player who has made the move from winger to striker effectively.

"Gareth will not start up front against Austria, but it is something I'm actively considering for the future," Coleman told a press conference on Tuesday.

"You have to score goals to win matches and it's a role he could perform, without any shadow of a doubt.

"He could even perform the role of a false nine, so to speak, the system Spain have used, and Barcelona also play that way from time to time with Lionel Messi.

"Could I see Gareth doing that for us, too? Yes I could."

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