Bale hamstring woe means race for Real clash

LONDON, March 28, 2011 (AFP) - Wales winger Gareth Bale is a doubt for Tottenham's Champions League quarter-final against Real Madrid after sustaining a grade one hamstring strain while on international duty.

Bale, 21, withdrew from Gary Speed's squad to face England last Saturday after pulling up in training and he was sent for a scan on the injury Monday.

Results revealed the winger had suffered a grade one strain - the recovery time for which usually stands from between seven and 10 days.

Spurs will continue to monitor Bale's condition ahead of this weekend's match against Wigan, but his participation in the first leg of the Champions League quarter with Real next Tuesday could be in doubt if he does not respond well to the conditioning of the injury.

"Gareth has returned to Spurs Lodge and took part in controlled straight-line running so we could assess him," Tottenham said in a statement.

"We sent him for an ultrasound scan examination this afternoon and that has confirmed the presence of a minor grade one hamstring strain.

"Gareth has reported no pain or stiffness after taking part in the running this morning and we shall continue to monitor him and see how he responds to his conditioning programme throughout the week."

Tottenham became embroiled in a club versus country row with Wales after the Football Association of Wales (FAW) claimed that Bale had suffered the injury before reporting for international duty.

Spurs boss Harry Redknapp hit back at those suggestions, claiming that the former Southampton winger was fully fit when he left Tottenham to join up with Wales after the club's 0-0 draw against West Ham.

Tottenham's head of medical services, Wayne Diesel, echoed Redknapp's claims on Monday: "Gareth did not report any hamstring issues when we assessed our players after our fixture with West Ham United which means he was free to report for international duty, nor did the Football Association of Wales raise any problems with us prior to his first training session with the national team on Tuesday following two days of rest.

"He was passed fit to train by the FAW medical team and it was only after 40 minutes of his first training session on Tuesday, which included some high intensity runs, Gareth complained of tightness in his right hamstring and was pulled out of the remainder of the session as a precaution.

"We requested the player be sent immediately for a scan which subsequently revealed the hamstring strain that forced his withdrawal from the squad."

Bale has missed a large part of the last three months with a back injury that he sustained against Newcastle in January.

The problem kept him out of the first leg of the club's last-16 win over AC Milan and restricted him to a substitute appearance in the return leg.

The goalless draw with the Hammers was his first start for the club in two months.

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