Sep 10, 2013 at 7.45pm UK at ​Millennium Stadium

Crofts (49')
FT(HT: 0-2)
Djordjevic (8'), Kolarov (39'), Markovic (55')
Fejsa (87')

Chris Coleman defends himself over Gareth Bale

Coleman defends himself over Bale
© Getty Images
Wales manager Chris Coleman explains why Gareth Bale played no part against Macedonia on Friday night.

Wales manager Chris Coleman has insisted that it was Gareth Bale rather than him who decided that the Real Madrid attacker should play no part during Friday's 2-1 loss to Macedonia.

Coleman has received a large amount of criticism from pundits and fans alike for leaving the world's most expensive footballer on the bench for the entire World Cup qualifier in Skopje.

However, the coach has revealed that Bale, who has struggled with injuries throughout pre-season, told him on the morning of the game that he did not feel fit enough to turn out for the Dragons.

"I was a little bit insulted. I was accused of hood-winking our supporters into [thinking that] Gareth Bale was playing. I never once said that Gareth Bale would play. What I said was that if there was any chance he can play, he will play a part," Coleman told Sky Sports News.

"There was a light session the day before the game and he felt a little something in his groin - a strain. He came to see me and said that he doesn't feel right and that he's had a reaction. It's impossible for us - we wouldn't do it for any player.

"The reason I stuck him on the bench was for obvious reasons. I didn't want their manager getting a boost before the game. I wanted him to think there was a chance that he could play a part because he can change a game. I'd never hood-wink our fans. They want to see Gareth Bale, we all do, but they've come to support Wales."

When asked if the 24-year-old could be available for selection against Serbia tomorrow night, Coleman admitted that he would once again leave it up to the player.

"Gareth has gone for a scan, just precautionary. It's good for him to have it clear in his mind. He's not going to start tomorrow night and he never was. As good as he is, you can't be risking players," added Coleman.

"He trained yesterday and didn't feel his groin, but for his sake he needs to know there's nothing there. If it is good news and he feels that he can play it's obvious that he will play some part, why wouldn't I put him on the pitch? If he says no, like he did on Friday, then we won't take a risk on him."

Wales will go above the Serbians in the Group A standings if they collect all three points at the Cardiff City Stadium.

Gareth Bale poses as a Real Madrid player at the Bernabeu on September 2, 2013
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