Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho has said he is concerned about the handling of Gareth Bale ahead of this month’s international fixtures because one of the Wales coaches also works for north London rivals Arsenal.
Bale was recalled on Thursday as part of a 29-man squad for the friendly against the United States on Nov. 12 before games against the Republic of Ireland and Finland in the Nations League.
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The 29-year-old missed the international games in October due to a knee injury which also delayed his second Spurs debut, having re-joined the club on loan from Real Madrid in September.
Mourinho has said he is cautious about how Bale will be looked after by Albert Stuivenberg, who divides his time between working for Wales and Arsenal.
“The fact that one of the coaches is an Arsenal coach does not make me very comfortable,” Mourinho said at a news conference.
“Honestly, it doesn’t make me very comfortable. National team matches should have coaches that work exclusively for them, not coaches who work for other clubs.
“He’s [Bale] getting better and better and I felt he could play 90 minutes. But it’s not about can or cannot, it’s about managing the situation and keeping him safe. He’s a player that needs to be safe, he’s a player that had enough problems in the past. He’s working so much and we’re all working so carefully with him that we don’t want to destroy the work everybody is doing for the last couple of months.
“Wales have two matches where they play for the Nations League and I expect him to play. But if they care as much about him as we do, they have to manage the recovery period, they have to manage the minutes that he plays and they should not let him get to fatigue levels.”
Arsenal declined to respond to Mourinho’s comments when contacted by ESPN.
Wales manager Ryan Giggs, who will not be in the dugout for the international break following his arrest for an alleged assault, named former Manchester United coach Stuivenberg as his assistant shortly after succeeding Chris Coleman in January 2018.
The pair had worked together for two years at Old Trafford under Louis van Gaal but Stuivenberg left when the Dutchman was sacked and replaced by Mourinho.
“It’s not Giggs responsible for these matches and I’m sorry about it, because for the previous fixtures he called me and we shared opinions [on Ben Davies], which is probably not going to happen this time,” Mourinho added.
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta appointed Stuivenberg upon taking over last December as one of several changes which also included Steve Round becoming assistant coach and Inaki Cana Pavon leaving Brentford to work as a goalkeeping coach.
“I am delighted to have this talented group of coaches alongside me,” Arteta said at the time. “They bring a great mix of experience and fresh thinking. Along with the talented people we have in the club already they will be key people to get us back to winning ways.”