Gareth Bale has revealed that the English Football Association had previously contacted him in order to convince him to play for the England national squad, with the Real Madrid star declining their offer in order to continue playing for his home country of Wales.
Bale, who has led Wales to their first major tournament since 1958 after the squad qualified for the Euro 2016 finals, told Wales Online that he had held a “one-second conversation” with the FA in which he informed them that he would not represent England in the future.
Bale, who told the interview that he had been approached by the FA when he was “very young,” said: “Literally it was a one-second conversation. I just said stop: I’m from Wales and love Wales and everyone knows how much I love playing for Wales.
“I’m Welsh. It was never an option and I would never want it to happen. Everyone wants to represent their country in the biggest tournaments. To have qualified is something I can tick off the list.”
Wales’ success in the Euro 2016 qualifying rounds has led to them overtaking England in the FIFA rankings for the first time ever, with their UK rivals having also qualified for the tournament. Wales sat just behind Belgium in the qualifiers, suffering no losses throughout the entirety of their campaign.
Bale also commented on the encouragement he has received during the campaign., adding: “The passion from the players is I would say the best in the world. From the fans as well. Whether it’s away from home, at home, for the football, for the rugby, for everything, we are probably the most passionate nation.
“The country really gets behind the team. The anthem is just incredible when it’s sung, even in the middle of a game, an incredible feeling.”