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Gareth Bale on Wales: ‘We have a lot more pride and passion than England’

The Real Madrid player is Welsh through and through but insists he does not feel pressure, as Slovakia and then England await, despite the weight of expectation that comes with his status as the team’s talisman at Euro 2016

Gareth Bale had already spoken about what it really means to be Welsh, right down to the way that his country sings the national anthem, when the conversation turned to facing England and, with no encouragement needed, the world’s most expensive footballer saw a chance to light the touchpaper. “It is like any derby – you never want to lose to the enemy,” Bale says. “I think we’ve got a lot more passion and pride about us than them. We’ll definitely show that on the day.”

There was a twinkle in his eye and a slight grin on his face but Bale, make no mistake, was deadly serious. With Wales taking on Slovakia in Bordeaux on Saturday in the opening match in Group B, Bale could easily have trotted out the take-one-game-at-a-time cliche and sidestepped all talk of England in the same way that he skirts around opponents. Instead, the Real Madrid forward gave the impression that he rather enjoyed the opportunity to rattle England’s cage before Thursday’s game in Lens.

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