England keeper Joe Hart has admitted Gareth Bale’s absence from Saturday’s Euro 2012 qualifier with Wales is good news.
Bale has returned to Tottenham after failing to recover from a hamstring strain.
It robs the hosts of their best player and most potent attacking threat as they try to stop the Three Lions in their tracks at the Millennium Stadium.
There has been understandable dismay in Welsh ranks, whilst England, although not revelling in the misfortune of a fellow professional, are hardly crying either.
“The news about Bale is good for us,” Hart said. “He is one of their best players.
“No one wants to see him getting hurt or injured of course and I am sure they will have someone ready to come in a fill his shoes. But they are pretty big shoes to fill.”
Hart has an idea about what to expect this weekend, having been in goal for a two-legged European Under-21 Championship play-off with Wales two and a half years ago.
England eventually squeezed through but not without a big scare and the memory ensures Hart will be on his toes this weekend.
“That game was completely different from all our other qualifiers,” he said. “We had won every game up to that point without even conceding a goal. Wales weren’t as strong as some of the other countries we had beaten easily but it turned into a completely different affair at Cardiff.
“The crowd were on their side and they were really up for it.”