Joe Rodon thinks there is “no chance” of Wales and Tottenham team-mate Gareth Bale retiring after this summer’s European Championship as speculation over the forward’s future continues.
Recent reports have suggested Bale may choose to call time on his playing career after Euro 2020, but in March he told Sky Sports News it was a dream for him to play for Wales in a World Cup.
Bale made a sensational return to Tottenham on loan from Real Madrid last summer but struggled for match fitness and regular first-team minutes under former head coach Jose Mourinho.
He was restricted to just 10 starts in the Premier League during 2020/21 but still scored 16 goals in all competitions, including a hat-trick against Sheffield United and two goals against Leicester towards the end of the season.
Asked if Bale might retire after the Euros, Rodon told Sky Sports News: “No chance! It’s all on Gareth and I’ve got nothing to do with that, but none of us at Wales want him anywhere near retirement and we want him for as long as possible.”
Rodon added: “He’s been brilliant with me since the first day I walked in through the doors at Tottenham.
“He’s just a big kid! He’s brilliant to have around the dressing room, and obviously, everyone knows what he does on the football pitch. Off it, he’s just brilliant to have around and he’s a great character.”
Rodon: Mourinho made me stronger
Speaking at a press conference ahead of Wales’ friendly in France on Wednesday, live on Sky Sports, Rodon said former Spurs boss Mourinho has made him stronger and able to cope with the demands placed on a top-level defender.
Centre-back Rodon heads to Euro 2020 with Wales after a difficult first season at Tottenham following his move from Sky Bet Championship club Swansea.
The 23-year-old had limited game-time under Mourinho, and also the Portuguese’s interim successor Ryan Mason, making just 14 appearances despite usually impressing when he had the opportunity.
“I felt he did it with me for a reason,” Rodon said when asked about Mourinho’s approach with him.
“It’s been a tough year, ups and downs, but I thought he handled me very well. It’s made me way better, mentally as well, and it’s going to benefit you moving forward.
“Everyone wants to play games of course, but sometimes it doesn’t go that way. You have to pick yourself up, keep going and hopefully get your rewards at the end of it.”
Rodon had made only 66 senior appearances when he swapped south Wales for north London in October 2020 for a reported £11m fee plus add-ons.
He missed out on Tottenham’s run to the Carabao Cup final having played for Swansea earlier in the competition, while he was not included in Mourinho’s post-Christmas Europa League squad.
But Rodon believes training daily with Bale, England captain Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son will help him this summer, starting with trying to nullify a France forward line that could contain Kylian Mbappe, Karim Benzema and Antoine Griezmann in Nice.
“Every player would like to play more minutes,” said Rodon, whose increasing leadership role with Wales was reflected when Bale handed him the armband as he was substituted in November’s Nations League win over Finland.
“But I got to train every day and work hard with some top players. It’s been a great eight months experience for me training with the Tottenham players.
“Training with top players only makes yourself better as a player individually.
“Harry is one of the best strikers in the world. But it’s not just Harry, there’s a lot of good players in that Tottenham squad.
“Going into that environment would improve any player and it was great to get a feel of that.”
Rodon has not played 90 minutes since April 16 – Mourinho’s final game in charge of Tottenham – but feels he is in a good position heading towards Euro 2020.
“We’ve got two games now to build up some match fitness,” Rodon said before Wales’ warm-up friendlies against France and at home to Albania on Saturday.
“We’re all raring to go and can’t wait to get started. France are a top nation, world champions going off the last major tournament, but we’re excited for the opportunity.”
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