GARETH BALE has dismissed injury concerns by announcing he is "ready to go" ahead of Wales' World Cup opener against USA.
The Los Angeles FC forward has not played a full 90 minutes for the American outfit since arriving in the summer.
And while he did send LAFC supporters wild by equalising in stoppage-time at the end of their MLS Cup final – a match they went on to win on penalties – Wales fans remained worried about his level of fitness heading into the World Cup.
However, Bale has now alleviated those fears ahead of his country's first World Cup match since 1958 on Monday.
Speaking in a pre-match press conference, he said: "I’m right where I want to be. I’m ready to go. We’ve all been training hard in the week.
"Every World Cup there’s never been a Wales flag. For youngsters growing up now, to have Wales at a World Cup, they might not realise it now but it’s an incredible experience to have.
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"It’s an incredible feeling to be here and an honour to do it for my country.
"We’re just our normal group having our normal jokes, working hard when we need to. The atmosphere is great at the hotel, at training.
"We’re really looking forward to the game and, when we’re in that mood, we normally give our best stuff."
Despite the positive news around Bale's fitness, Joe Allen has been ruled out of the USA game due to a hamstring problem.
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It remains to be seen whether he will be ready for their other Group B games against Iran and England.
But manager Robert Page remains optimistic about his side's chances at the tournament.
He said: "People will look at England and the USA and naturally think they’re the favourites, then there's Iran and ourselves.
"But we’ve proved that on our day we can more than compete. There might be some surprises along the way and we’re going to enjoy it.
"We’ve earned the right to be here and I want to go and show the world now how good we are.
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"The players are ready. We won't need to fire them up. We have a game plan and done a lot of analysis on the first game and they are ready for the game. They have waited a long time for it.
"My team talk will come from the heart again and we are all looking forward to the kick off."
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