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Wales' Gareth Bale shrugs off Euro 2016 pressure

Wales will look to Real Madrid star Gareth Bale for leadership when they make their European Championship debut in France next month.

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Gareth Bale claims he does not feel extra pressure despite being Wales' undisputed superstar going into Euro 2016.

The former Tottenham player is one of a galaxy of big names at Real Madrid, where Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo remains the leader of the pack.

It is a different story with the national team, though. Bale is crucial to the hopes of Chris Coleman's team, as Wales prepare for their first major tournament appearance since the World Cup in 1958.

Nevertheless, the 26-year-old talisman insists he is taking a relaxed approach ahead of matches against Russia, Slovakia and England in France next month.

"I don't feel any pressure," he said.

"I enjoy playing for Wales. It's nice taking responsibility. We have a very good team, we have a very good team spirit. We have very good character in the team.

"When we go on the pitch we all play together and I think we've shown that in qualifying."

Bale is also confident he will not be fazed should Wales progress to the round of 16 and he finds himself going up against any of his Madrid team-mates.

"It'll be a little bit strange, but once you cross the white line for your country, everything else goes out the window," he said.

"You have to give 100 per cent for the shirt and for the badge and no matter what, we'll try and win every game."

The clash with neighbours and rivals England in Lens on June 16 is by far the most anticipated of the Group B matches and while Bale would welcome a starring role in a Wales victory at Stade Bollaert-Delelis, his focus remains on progressing to the knockout stages.

"I'd love to read in the paper that we beat England and I scored the winning goal," he added.

"But the most important thing is we get the win, no matter who scores, no matter how it goes in, as long as we get the vital goal we'll be very happy.

"For us as a country, to qualify for a major tournament is a historical achievement. We've only ever been in one major tournament before. It's a massive achievement and one we're really looking forward to. We'll be going there to try and give it 100 per cent and give it our best."

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