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Mar 20, 2019 at 7.45pm UK
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Trin. & Tob.Trinidad and Tobago
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Ryan Giggs keen to "take the pressure off" Gareth Bale

:Headline: Ryan Giggs keen to 'take the pressure off' Gareth Bale:
The Real Madrid forward completed his first 90 minutes of 2019 on Saturday.
PA | 10mo

Wales manager Ryan Giggs wants to take the pressure off Gareth Bale heading into the 2020 European Championship campaign.

Bale is just a few months short of his 30th birthday, but the Real Madrid striker remains Wales' main man ahead of Sunday's opening Euro 2020 qualifier against Slovakia in Cardiff.

Wales' record goalscorer completed his first 90 minutes of 2019 on Saturday and scored as Real beat Celta Vigo 2-0 in LaLiga.

"Usually when Gareth scores he goes on a run, so that's good for us," Giggs said ahead of the pre-Slovakia friendly with Trinidad & Tobago in Wrexham on Wednesday.

"We all know what a talent he is, and if he plays games he'll score goals.

"But also I want to take the pressure off him at the same time, so if he's not available we're not just reliant on one player."

Bale is unlikely to start the Trinidad & Tobago game, allowing Giggs to cast his eye over his young forwards with Sam Vokes and Tom Lawrence both ruled out by injury.

Arsenal playmaker Aaron Ramsey (thigh) and Chelsea midfielder Ethan Ampadu (back) are also absent, although the former is expected to be fit for the Slovakia game.

"With the emergence of Harry Wilson, David Brooks and Dan James we've got so many attacking options," Giggs said.

"That's what I want. But you have to recognise that you've got a special player, one of the best in the world, and play to his strengths also.

"The Trinidad & Tobago game will be a balancing act as players are at different stages.

"Some players need games, some players don't. But I've challenged those that will play to impress because there are still places up for grabs on Sunday."

Ashley Williams will be wearing the captain's armband for Wales (Tim Goode/PA)

Veteran Ashley Williams is likely to captain Wales and win his 84th cap as the on-loan Stoke defender needs game-time.

Williams has not started for Stoke since the start of February, but two appearances for Wales this week will see him equal the 85-cap mark of Gary Speed and become his country's joint-third most capped player.

"To think I would get as many caps as Gary Speed when I won my first one was unthinkable," Williams said.

"It would be a massive achievement. To actually achieve that would be something I would be very proud of."

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Premier League Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool23221054153967
2Manchester CityMan City24163565273851
3Leicester CityLeicester24153652242848
4Chelsea2412484132940
5Manchester UnitedMan Utd249783629734
6Tottenham HotspurSpurs249783832634
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves2481063532334
8Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd248972523233
9Southampton2494113142-1131
10Arsenal2461263234-230
11Crystal Palace247982228-630
12Everton2486102835-730
13Burnley2493122838-1030
14Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2486102436-1230
15Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2467112734-725
16Aston Villa2474133145-1425
17West Ham UnitedWest Ham2365122738-1123
18Bournemouth2465132337-1423
19Watford2458112136-1523
20Norwich CityNorwich2445152447-2317
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