Stoke City midfielder and Wales international Joe Allen has claimed that he can't understand why his international teammate Gareth Bale doesn't get more first team starts for his club side Real Madrid.
Speaking ahead of his side's China Cup clash against Uruguay on Monday, the midfield maestro spoke highly of the former Tottenham Hotspur man, and admitted his surprise at Bale's restricted playing time at the Bernabéu this season.
Allen said: "It is baffling (his lack of matches really. He’ll be disappointed. But I’m sure it is only a matter of time before he’ll be back starting and playing regularly - doing for them what he always does for us."
Wales stormed to a 6-0 victory over the host nation China in their previous game, with Bale netting an impressive hat-trick in the rout. The trio of goals saw the 28-year-old become the nation's all time international record goal scorer - eclipsing Liverpool legend Ian Rush's previous record of 28 by one goal.
Discussing his teammate's impressive achievement, Allen said: “It was an incredible hat-trick and he is going to have plenty of time to extend that record now. He’s really chuffed he’s got it, and in some sense it is ‘out of the way’. He is going to get a lot more goals. It will take something pretty special to ever beat his record."
"If you look at Gaz’s age, 28, he’s at the peak of his powers. We hope he keeps doing the business. He is an ambitious guy. You could see against China he is a cut above anyone else out on that pitch - we are really grateful he is a Welshman.”
Meanwhile, Real Madrid are believed to be preparing a list of candidates to succeed their current manager Zinedine Zidane at the club. The French legend is thought to have failed to inform the club whether he intends to stay on as manager at the end of the season, which has lead Los Blancos to weigh up their options ahead of the 2018/19 campaign.