Gareth Bale can handle bigger role with Real Madrid - Ryan Giggs
Gareth Bale can handle the pressure of having a more critical role at Real Madrid following the departure Cristiano Ronaldo, says his Wales manager Ryan Giggs.
Bale has scored in both of Madrid's games to open the season in La Liga, and Giggs believes the 29-year-old has grown used to the spotlight in his first five years at the Bernabeu.
"When someone like Cristiano leaves there is always going to be a spotlight on who is going to replace him goal-wise and threat-wise," Giggs said. "It's a massive void to fill but Gareth has the experience now of being at the club for a long time.
"Every year there is pressure on him and he has handled it brilliantly. It's a bit different this year because Cristiano has left and there will be more focus on the players who are going to replace the goals.
"But Gareth has shown his qualities in big games and that he can handle anything that is thrown at him."
Bales was included in Giggs' squad as Wales open the UEFA League of Nations in September against Ireland and Denmark.
"He has started this season on fire," Giggs said. "But there's never really a time when he is not playing well.
"I think always the problem with Gareth is that when he has been injured, he's then had to come back and get more game time. But when he plays, he always plays well and more or less scores."
Giggs also sympathised with the injury woes that have plagued Bale's career.
"It was probably when I was 28 when I really started realising what was good for me," Giggs said. "Preparing for games, maybe not training as much or not as intensively and some days training more.
"It's a fine balance. Some days if you can feel there is an injury around the corner you then pull yourself out of a game which isn't easy and you don't always get it right.
"But it's something you have to try and do for the longer time that you are playing. Miss one game and play the next.
"I was lucky having a manager like Sir Alex Ferguson who was quite happy to do that. It takes time to know your body and get used to what is good for you."