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Wales ponder using Bale as a striker against England

Football Soccer - Wales v Slovakia - EURO 2016 - Group B - Stade de Bordeaux, Bordeaux, France - 11/6/16 Wales' Gareth Bale celebrates after the match REUTERS/Regis Duvignau/ Livepic
Football Soccer - Wales v Slovakia - EURO 2016 - Group B - Stade de Bordeaux, Bordeaux, France - 11/6/16Wales' Gareth Bale celebrates after the matchREUTERS/Regis Duvignau/ Livepic

REUTERS - Wales boss Chris Coleman is considering deploy Gareth Bale as a striker against England on Thursday after he played a similar role in their European Championship opener against Slovakia.

Bale, who usually plays on the wing for club Real Madrid and country, scored the opening goal as Wales kicked off their campaign in Group B with a 2-1 win over Slovakia in Bordeaux on Saturday.

"There's an option there or put him back in the normal role he plays for us," Coleman told reporters in France.

"But I think that we have got between today and Thursday to work on one or two pieces.

"I was happy with him at the weekend, more than happy with him. He scored a great free-kick and had a couple of good chances playing in the number nine role.

"At the weekend he got his chances and he was effective. So there will be a chat with him and we will look to see if we will keep him there or move him."

Bale last week made a comment suggesting that Wales had more passion and pride than their neighbours who "big themselves up before they've done anything", a remark that prompted a defensive response from England boss Roy Hodgson.

Coleman said Bale had meant no disrespect.

"If you know Gareth, he is the most down-to-earth boy you could wish to meet," he said.

"He is not a disrespectful kid. I can understand where Roy was coming from but I think Gareth meant it in a way of 'little old Wales'."

Wales end their group stage campaign against Russia in Toulouse on June 20.

(Reporting by Ian Rodricks in Bengaluru, editing by Nick Mulvenney)

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