MX23RW : Thursday, November 15 17:24:49

Martin O'Neill: 'Seamus Coleman as important as Gareth Bale'

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill has suggested that Seamus Coleman will be missed by the nation just as much as Wales will miss Gareth Bale.

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill has suggested that Seamus Coleman will be missed by the nation just as much as Wales will miss Gareth Bale.

The two sides go head to head on Monday at the Cardiff City Stadium in a bid to seal one of the top two spots in their World Cup qualifying group.

Ireland captain Coleman has been out of contention since suffering a double leg fracture in a challenge by Dragons defender Neil Taylor when the sides met in a goalless draw at the Aviva Stadium in March.

Wales talisman Bale, meanwhile, is out with a calf strain, and when asked how much of an impact being without Bale through injury could have, O'Neill told Sky Sports News: "Wales would naturally miss a player of that calibre, but we've got a world-class player missing ourselves in Seamus Coleman.

"He's been missing and in my mind, he's as big a loss to us as Gareth Bale is to Wales. But Gareth Bale is a world-class player and of course, he's a major threat.

"Him not playing I think helps, but Wales have been able to win matches without him, so I think their mindset is still pretty strong, but so is ours."

Both nations can still qualify automatically for next year's finals in Russia, although they are relying on Group D leaders Serbia slipping up at home to second-bottom Georgia.


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Joe Ledley in action during the World Cup qualifier between Wales and Georgia on October 9, 2016
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