IT WAS easy to see why Gareth Bale got all the headlines after winning — and scoring — the penalty that earned Wales a point against the United States.
I’d now rate him alongside John Charles as the greatest Welsh footballer of all time — and as someone who saw the Gentle Giant play, I never thought I’d say that.
What a career he’s had — and what a dream he is for a manager. I know that as well as anyone after working with him at Tottenham.
You’re never worried about picking up the paper and seeing pictures of any of them falling out of a nightclub or making the wrong sort of headlines.
When he took the penalty against the US, there was no doubt where it was ending up.
It might sound obvious but what a striker of a football Gareth is.
So Gareth scored the goal and got the spotlight… but he wasn’t the one who changed the game for Wales.
That was Kieffer Moore, who came on at half-time and gave a perfect example of everything I say about the modern game — that the age of the big, bullocking centre- forward has gone.
Years ago every team would have a Duncan Ferguson-type figure. A forward who’d put themselves about, be a real nuisance and was generally just a real handful.
And the centre-halves trying to cope with them obviously had to be big and strong as well to meet the challenge.
If you were up against a 6ft 4in fella built like a brick outhouse, you would have to be a certain build yourself or you would just be bullied out of it.
But the modern striker is all about movement, buzzing around, and the centre-backs changed accordingly. They got smaller as well — became more footballing defenders.
So when Wales chucked Moore into the equation on Monday, suddenly they were a totally different team and the States really couldn’t cope.
There was a focal point to the team, which allowed Bale to get forward and on the ball a lot more… and we saw what happened.
Now, at 33, Gareth’s not running past opponents so much but popping up all over the pitch — and he only needs half a yard in that final third to get a shot away.
As for Moore, I’ve seen a lot of him at Bournemouth this season and he wins virtually every header he goes for, whether it’s corners, free-kicks or long balls from the back.
You play it up to him, he holds it up, backs into defenders and puts the fear of God up them because they’re simply not used to playing against blokes like him any more.
These days everyone wants to be a No 10, strolling around the place, buzzing round feet.
Kieffer is a great throwback to the old-school strikers but the other night he was the one who changed everything for Wales.
He might not have got the headlines his performance deserved — but I’m sure he got plenty off Gareth and the rest of the Welsh lads, because they’ve got a right chance now.
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