Will The Real Gareth Bale Please Stand Up?
Two games have defined and, to an extent, shaped Gareth Bale’s career thus far. The Champions League double header over Inter Milan, where the Welshman scored a hat-trick at the San Siro followed by a performance that was credited with his finest in…
Two games have defined and, to an extent, shaped Gareth Bale’s career thus far. The Champions League double header over Inter Milan, where the Welshman scored a hat-trick at the San Siro followed by a performance that was credited with his finest in his short career and some deem to be the one that won him the PFA Player of the Year.
Following the games, Bale was linked with Europe’s giants; Real Madrid, AC Milan, Inter Milan, Barcelona, them, and others, we’re, worryingly for Spurs fans, linked with the former Southampton trainee. £40m was the figure that was being thrown around for the 22-year-old, while Sky Sports were even comparing the youngster from Cardiff with Argentinian superstar Lionel Messi.
And while Bale may not be in the same league as the Barcelona great-to-be, many were tipping him to become one of the games greats. With the physical attributes of any great winger, a deadly left foot, stamina, pace, height and a real aerial threat from set-pieces, if he isn’t taking them, it is no surprise the plaudits were flying in his direction.
A mental attitude to match the grounded winger, Bale was idolised by many and feared by more. Fortunately for Spurs fans, he believes it is best to remain at White Hart Lane for the foreseeable future in order to continue his development as a player, despite conceding he would like to play abroad one-day.
Yet, his recent performances against Arsenal and Newcastle, respectively, have left a lot to be desired. Looking far more apprehensive to get his head down and run the full-back, many believe Bale is fearful of suffering a re-occurrence of the back problem he picked up at St. James’ Park last season or an ankle knock that dogged his early Spurs days and one which he picked up against Blackpool last season, after being on the receiving end of a horrific challenge from Charlie Adam.
Having watch the Arsenal game first hand, fans got the impression that he was fearful of running at Bacary Sagna and it wasn’t until he came up against Carl Jenkinson, who in turn replaced the Frenchman following his leg-break, that the Welshman began to attack the full-back once again. Against Liverpool was a similar story, facing an out-of-position Martin Skrtel, Bale favoured his chances over the Slovak while in the 2-1 win over Wigan, it was Steve Gohouri, a man who has spent little over 12 months in the Premiership, that Bale again took his chances over the cumbersome full-back.
Meanwhile, when coming face-to-face with a Premiership experienced full-back, Bale gets the look of a deer caught in headlights when, in actual fact, it should be the other way around. His greatest strength his pace and ability to beat a man in a one-on-one scenario but unfortunately, Bale looks too nervous to make the lung-busting runs that made him hot property 12 months ago.
His final ball has also began to suffer in recent outings. Too many times on Sunday his delivery failed to find a Spurs man on a regular basis, especially throughout the Newcastle game, with a number of crosses either being struck too deep or falling too short to really cause damage on the opposition defence. But, having been played out of position against both Wigan and Newastle, you get the feeling that when he is restored to his natural wing, the confidence will come flooding back to the youngster.
And while his displays may been falling short of the 10-out-of-10 performance over Inter Milan almost 12 months ago, you can be sure that it won’t be long before Spurs fans, once again, begin to see the best of Gareth Bale.
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