World Cup qualifiers: Wales need new hero in Serbia, says Ian Rush

Gareth Bale
Gareth Bale received his second yellow card of the World Cup qualifiers against the Republic of Ireland
World Cup qualifier: Serbia v Wales
Date: Sunday, 11 June Venue: Stadion Rajko Mitić, Belgrade Kick-off: 19:45 BST
Coverage: Live on BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, BBC Radio 5 live sports extra & BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app, plus live text commentary.

Wales' all-time top scorer Ian Rush says the national side must have a "plan B" in the absence of Gareth Bale in Serbia.

Chris Coleman's men face the group D leaders without the Real Madrid forward after Bale was booked in March's 0-0 draw with the Republic of Ireland.

Rush, who scored 28 international goals, said another Welsh hero was now needed.

"It's a massive game, but we can't rely on Gareth all the time," said Rush.

Wales, who face Serbia in Belgrade on Sunday, 11 June, are currently four points behind their next opponents and second-placed Ireland.

Coleman knows a positive result is needed if his side's hopes of qualifying for the finals in Russia next year are to remain feasible.

Bale, 27, won his third Champions League winners' medal after coming off the bench in Real's 4-1 win over Juventus in the final in Cardiff.

Former Liverpool and Juventus striker Rush admitted it was going to be a tough test for Wales, particularly without Bale.

"We are really looking at plan B. It gives the players something to aim for, that we can go without Gareth Bale for the odd game," said Rush.

"(Aaron) Ramsey scored the winner in the FA Cup final recently, he's something special as well.

Ian Rush
Ian Rush scored a record 28 goals for Wales, but Gareth Bale is now just two behind that total

"It won't be easy, but you've got the likes of Joe Allen too, the unsung players, they might become the hero.

"That's what we are looking for, people will work hard, but we need an unsung hero to come up and if we can do that we are still in play when the next qualifiers come up."

Wales' next qualifier after facing Serbia will be at home to Austria in Cardiff on 2 September.

Rush says the Wales players had to make one last effort on Sunday if they were to still be in contention when the Austria match came around.

"It's probably the hardest game we have got, Serbia away," added Rush.

"To get anything out of the game, Wales will have done well. It's a difficult one, but you have to believe in yourselves. We are good enough to beat Serbia.

"The players are going to put the work rate in, we know that. But we need that little bit more. A draw is not great for us, but I would not be too disappointed, it keeps you in there.

"The players are going to have to give one last effort, it's the last game, you've got a break after that."

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