Gareth Bale: Wales duty will help Real Madrid star - Kevin Ratcliffe

Gareth Bale, Real Madrid
Gareth Bale started his career at Southampton and scored five goals in 40 matches for the Saints between 2005 and 2007

Former Wales captain Kevin Ratcliffe believes playing international football will help Gareth Bale get his mind off his disappointing club form.

The 25-year-old has failed to score or set up any goals for Real Madrid in his last nine matches.

Wales take on Group B leaders Israel in their latest Euro 2016 qualifier on 28 March and Ratcliffe believes the match will do out-of-form Bale good.

"[Wales duty] will be a little bit of a release for him," said Ratcliffe.

Bale had scored 16 goals for Real in his previous 27 matches for the Spanish team this season before his barren spell began.

Real Madrid lost 4-3 at home to German side Schalke on Tuesday, but progressed to the quarter-finals of the Champions League 5-4 on aggregate.

Fans waved white handkerchiefs - a symbol of disgust at a bad performance - and Bale was once again booed by his own supporters.

Former Wales captain Ryan Giggs has previously said the criticism will only help the Real Madrid forward improve.

Wales manager Chris Coleman will announce his squad on Wednesday, 18 March for the game against Israel.

Second-placed Wales, who are unbeaten after four games, are a point behind Israel, who have won their opening three games.

Israel coach Eli Guttman claimed Bale was 'saving his best for Wales' key Euro 2016 qualifier.

Ratcliffe says although Bale's recent performances have not been "to the high standard" the former Tottenham Hotspur winger has set, he is confident this will not harm his form for Wales.

"It looks like he's lacking in confidence," Ratcliffe told BBC Wales Sport.

"I just think he's going through a little bit of a sticky patch.

"Hopefully he doesn't bring that with him when he plays for Wales against Israel in a couple of weeks time. I don't think he will."

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