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Wales consider striker's role for Ex-Saint Bale
8:55am Wednesday 6th February 2013 in International
Gareth Bale is set to feature in his familiar wing role for Wales against Austria tonight - but manager Chris Coleman is prepared to field the Tottenham man as a striker in a bid to end a chronic goal shortage.
Bale, 23, has been in sensational form of late, scoring stunning goals in his last two club outings against Norwich and West Brom.
The former Saints starlet’s scoring exploits have been such that Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas has himself considered moving Bale up front, with Jermain Defoe and Emmanuel Adebayor currently unavailable.
He is also the only player to have scored for Wales in the seven games since Coleman was named as Gary Speed's successor, scoring a consolation in the 6-1 hammering in Serbia, and a crucial double in the 2-1 win over Scotland.
And Coleman said: "Gareth will not start up front against Austria, but it is something I'm actively considering for the future.
"You have to score goals to win matches and it's a role he could perform, without any shadow of a doubt.
"He could even perform the role of a false nine, so to speak, the system Spain have used, and Barcelona also play that way from time to time with Lionel Messi.
"Could I see Gareth doing that for us, too? Yes I could."
Wherever Bale plays, Austria manager Marcel Koller is well aware of the threat he poses.
He said: "Bale is the key player for Wales, especially in terms of his offensive play. We have to work together to try and stop him, rather than having one player man-marking him.
"He is extremely fast and has very good technique."