Ryan Giggs has advised compatriot Gareth Bale that he must start making changes after continuously struggling with injuries.
Real Madrid star Bale was restricted to 19 LaLiga appearances in an injury interrupted 2016-17 campaign, having only played 23 in the previous season.
Now, a calf problem suffered in an impressive performance against Borussia Dortmund last week has ruled him out of Wales’ crucial World Cup qualifiers against Georgia and the Republic of Ireland.
Former Wales international Giggs had to make major changes to ensure his Manchester United career lasted until beyond his 40th birthday and he believes Bale should do the same to stop injuries from defining him.
Giggs told Sky Sports: “When you look at Bale and the physical specimen he is, he is always going to be putting his body under pressure, especially with the sort of challenges he comes up against from other players.
“With the injuries he has had and at the stage of his career, this is when you need to start addressing it.
“When you get to your late 20s it hits home that you need to start making changes.
“Everyone is different and I tried to cover every base with yoga, acupuncture, ice baths, but what might work for some players might not for others.
“You also have to adapt your game. You can’t play in your late 20s like you did when you were 19, but that experience means your brain is quicker and you can be more economical yet more effective. I was definitely more effective in games in my late 20s even if I wasn’t as quick.”
Wales are four points behind leaders Serbia and one clear of third-placed Ireland ahead of their crunch double-header, which they will face without Bale.
Giggs said: “Bale being ruled out of the World Cup Qualifiers is obviously a big blow because if you’re preparing to play against Wales, the first thing you think about is how to stop Bale.
“They can still get the results to qualify for the World Cup though, but they will have to play a slightly different way as there is nobody else who can get you back to front like Bale does.
“Sam Vokes can be used as a target man and there’s still a lot of quality, as Joe Allen, Ben Davies and Aaron Ramsey have shown, and they’ll be even more important to the team.
“Obviously, you’re missing a world-class player and the team’s talisman, but sometimes that can bring the lads together and it won’t be the first time they’ve coped without him.”
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