Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey absence disappoints Netherlands

Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey
Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey will not feature in the friendly for Wales against Netherlands

Manager Louis van Gaal says he is disappointed that his Netherlands side will face a Wales team on Wednesday without Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey.

Real Madrid star Bale, 24, has been "troubled with a leg muscle injury for a few weeks", while Arsenal's FA Cup winner Ramsey, 23, is rested.

The Amsterdam Arena friendly is part of Netherlands' World Cup build-up.

"I have said to my board that they have to insist on playing with Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey," Van Gaal said.

"I don't know why, if it is injuries or holidays. When it is a holiday I'm a little bit disappointed but I can understand it, because Bale has had a very difficult and pressured season.

"It's better that we have the best Welsh team because we need resistance and I think without these players Wales are weaker."

As well as Wales boss Chris Coleman being without his two leading stars, he has also been shorn of other senior players including Swansea defensive pair Ashley Williams and Ben Davies.

The Dutch still hold the record for inflicting the heaviest defeat on Wales in the post-war era, thrashing them 7-1 in Eindhoven in November 1996.

But despite Wales being under-strength against a Netherlands side that faces a tough World Cup group including holders Spain, Chile and Australia, Van Gaal does not see the game being such a one-sided encounter.

"I don't think that nowadays these results shall happen. I have seen Wales playing against Iceland and Finland and I like them," added Van Gaal, who will take over at Manchester United after the World Cup in Brazil.

"They want to play the ball... they're not a bad team. But with Bale it's always better, with Ramsey also."

Bale had been named in Coleman's original squad for the friendly against the Dutch.

But the Cardiff-born player withdrew from the squad with injury only days after his goal-scoring performance helped Real Madrid win the Champions League against Atletico Madrid.

Bale, who featured in Wales' last two friendly internationals, is currently on a personal promotional tour of Indonesia.

In the absence of Bale, regular captain Williams and former skipper Ramsey, Liverpool midfielder Joe Allen will lead the side.

Wales squad

Goalkeepers: Wayne Hennessey (Crystal Palace), Connor Roberts (unattached), Owain Fon Williams (Tranmere Rovers)

Defenders: Chris Gunter (Reading), James Chester (Hull City), Paul Dummett (Newcastle United), Danny Gabbidon (Crystal Palace), Declan John (Cardiff City), Lewin Nyatanga (Barnsley), Ashley Richards (Swansea City), Neil Taylor (Swansea City)

Midfielders: Joe Allen (Liverpool), Emyr Huws (Manchester City), Owain Tudur Jones (Hibernian), Andy King (Leicester City), Tom Lawrence (Manchester United), Joe Ledley (Crystal Palace), David Vaughan (Sunderland), Jonathan Williams (Crystal Palace)

Forwards: Simon Church (Charlton Athletic), Jermaine Easter (Millwall), Hal Robson-Kanu (Reading), George Williams (Fulham).

Watch Netherlands v Wales live on Wednesday, 4 June, on BBC Two Wales and S4C, or listen to full commentary on BBC Radio Wales, also available online, and BBC Radio Cymru.

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