Gareth Bale’s Los Angeles FC colleague Kellyn Acosta has told his USA teammates they will have to ‘literally start kicking’ the Wales superstar.
Wales and the US have been drawn in World Cup group B along with England and Iran, and face off in their opening match on Monday.
One common thread between the two teams is the most recognisable player in either squad, with Wales captain Bale moving to California to join LAFC in June.
The former Real Madrid and Tottenham forward continued his winning record by taking home the MLS Cup just months into his LA career, showing the US exactly what they’ll be up against in Qatar.
One of the men Bale achieved that feat alongside, Acosta, has got to know the five-time Champions League winner as well as anyone, and has some advice for his teammates.
“If you give a player like Gareth time and space he will exploit you, as you saw in the MLS Cup final,” the midfielder said.
“Everyone knows who he is. He’s a guy that’s super-decorated, he’s a guy who’s won everything. I’ve had the opportunity to share the field with him and know his tendencies day in day out.
“For us we know we have to limit his time and space. He’s a very dangerous player and he’s going to be a catalyst for them.
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“We’ve got to literally start kicking him around the field a little bit. Make him feel us.
“Let him be comfortable and he will hurt you.”
Also opposing Bale will be the most recognisable name in US soccer, Chelsea’s Christian Pulisic.
The 24-year-old has faced Bale with both the Blues and former side Borussia Dortmund, and he is also weary.
“He’s a top player, there’s no doubt about it, what he’s accomplished in his career,” Pulisic said.
“He’s played at the highest level. He knows what it takes. I’m sure he’ll be ready. Whether he is at the absolute top of his game, it doesn’t matter.”