Gareth Bale - The Footballing World

Bale will be a centurion – Ledley

Crystal Palace midfielder Joe Ledley believes Real Madrid winger Gareth Bale and club teammate goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey will go on to reach triple figures in terms of caps earned for Wales.

Ledley played on the night of 26 May 2006 when Bale won his first cap for his country against Trinidad And Tobago in Graz to become the youngest Welshman to represent his nation at full senior level at the time, at 16 years and 315 days.

No Welshman has won 100 caps, with former Everton goalkeeper Neville Southall holding the record at 92 and the late former Leeds United Gary Speed holding the record for an outfield player with 85.

But Ledley feels Bale will achieve that mark, after recalling how the young substitute made an immediate impression by setting up current Vancouver Whitecaps striker Robert Earnshaw’s winner on his debut.

“Oh yes, I remember Trinidad. Earnie scored the winner,” he said, as the 28-year-old, who has so far 56 caps for Wales, recalled the friendly arranged on the eve of the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

“You could see Gareth had something special, brilliant on the ball, fast, and you could see his free-kicks as well.

“He has always had that. You never thought ‘maybe Madrid’ but that is down to him.

“That is his dedication and the way that he has focused on the game and, credit to him, he deserves to be where he is.

“For me he is one of the best players in the world and I think Gareth and Wayne (Hennessey) will get to 100 caps, and Chris Gunter (Reading defender) is also over 50 at such a young age.”

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