What’s gone wrong for Gareth Bale at Tottenham? Former managers, ex-teammates and talkSPORT pundits on disappointing Spurs return February 11, 2021 – Posted in: Soccer
Gareth Bale’s return to Tottenham last summer was greeted with high anticipation and much fanfare… but things haven’t gone quite to plan.
Bale has been a shadow of the player who left north London in 2013 for a world-record transfer fee and became a world beater with Real Madrid.
A frosty relationship with Zinedine Zidane saw him pushed out on loan and Spurs seemed like the ideal place for him to rediscover the form that made him feared by many defenders around Europe.
But since returning to north London, the 31-year-old has made just 15 appearances – with six of those coming in the Europa League.
He’s been limited to mostly substitute appearances in the Premier League, and has been largely ineffectual on those rare occasions he does feature.
Bale was a notable absentee when Spurs played Everton in the FA Cup on Wednesday evening – a match they lost 5-4 – with Jose Mourinho revealing the Wales international had asked for a scan on an injury.
“I think it is better for me to say: we played against West Brom on the Sunday and he didn’t play, he was on the bench,” Mourinho said. “Monday I was a bit surprised by him wanting to have a scan because he was not feeling comfortable.
“He didn’t train on Monday, then on the Tuesday he trained with the team but I was informed his desire would be to work with the sports science for a couple of days to strengthen that area where he was not feeling comfortable.
“That is the reason why he is not here. I don’t think it is an obvious injury, I would say he feels uncomfortable and because of that training session he couldn’t be 100%.”
Bale’s second spell at Tottenham has been a big talking point and many former Spurs players and managers, as well as pundits, have joined talkSPORT to weigh-in on the conversation.
Below, talkSPORT.com take a look at what has been said about Gareth Bale’s disappointing north London return…
“People say to me he looks like he’s not interested or he doesn’t care, and I’ve heard all this.
“If he didn’t care then he would have stayed at Real Madrid earning the same money; he’s come here because he wants to play and prove himself again!
“He’s not the most confident boy in the world, even though he was up there for me in the top five players in the world when he was at Tottenham first and then Real Madrid.
“You’ve got to make him feel like he’s the main man and give him confidence. Surely you’ve got to find a way, and it’s the manager’s job to unlock that talent and get him going again.
“I’m sure it’s in there and it needs bringing out now. He doesn’t need to be bringing him on, taking him off and little cameos here and there.
“Let him play and give him a run.”
“You see [Mourinho] is losing his patience with Gareth.
“Everyone was excited when Gareth Bale returned to Tottenham, and Gareth’s body language was great as well.
“But it just hasn’t worked out. It’s not the Bale we knew; he hasn’t been able to find the consistency or form and hasn’t played enough minutes.”
“I think [Mourinho] is probably frustrated with the constant questions asked about him. At the end of the day [Bale] hasn’t performed.
“He has this mental block with injuries and his fitness. He’s probably got to the physio and said something doesn’t feel right.
“I think he thinks he needs to be 100 per cent to play a football match. Mourinho got asked a normal question and he’s sick of getting asked the questions.”
“I’ve been so disappointed since he’s come in. We all talked about the front three Spurs would have with Heung-min Son, Harry Kane and Gareth slotting in.
“He came with an injury and he hasn’t hit the ground running. In his defence he hasn’t had many minutes.
“When he has he hasn’t performed, but he needs time. He needs game time. He was out for a few weeks when he came back and then he’s chucked into cup games and he does okay. But you need a run of games.
“Ray [Parlour] and Alan [Brazil, you’ve played this game for long enough… one game here and there, ten minutes here and then – it doesn’t give you much of an opportunity.
“Yes, he played against Brighton and he wasn’t great, but give him another chance and stick with him for three or four games.”
“I’ve been very disappointed in him actually. I think he needed five or six weeks to get up to match fitness, but I was very disappointed in him because he didn’t look as if he was able to into a sprint and he looked a bit fragile mentally.
“Now, I think he’s looked in the mirror and said: ‘This isn’t good enough here.’
“To be fair to him, he could have had more goals [vs Wycombe in the FA Cup] and if he can get close to that performance against Premier League sides, he’ll get himself in and around the starting XI and that will give Tottenham even more of a dimension.”
“I think Gareth Bale, and what’s happening with him at Tottenham, is scandalous!
“We’ve been listening, for two years, about this outrageous and unfair treatment of him at Real Madrid and how he has won the Champions League for Real Madrid and put in stellar performances, and yet Zinedine Zidane has marginalised him…
“And we have this absolute clamour of excitement for him to come back to play for Tottenham – and it has been an absolute damp squib.
“People are saying, ‘you have to give him time’, but he’s been back for eight months, or best part of, and Jesse Lingard hasn’t kicked a ball in anger in a first-team game for a year, but he walks into a West Ham side and he sets the place alight.
“Send him to China, where he wanted to go.
“Look at this, this is not right, something is not right here. Either this player is completely and utterly past his sell-by date… I know people say, ‘form is temporary and class is permanent’, but at some point you’ve got to ask, where’s the class then?
“His form is not temporary, his form is now permanent, and it’s bloody disappointing.
“This is supposed to be a world-beating footballer. Even if he was performing at 60 per cent of the Gareth Bale that we once knew, he should be able to get in that Tottenham side, but he’s a mile off.
“Daniel Levy has signed a pup. What a disappointment.”
“You’ve got to put your body through it. You’ve got to work constantly, every day to get through it.
“You do need the physios at times to push you out there. I don’t know how Gareth is feeling, he is getting a scan on whatever part of the body.
“Normally, it’s different for muscular injuries with knees or ankles where you can sometimes get away with it.
“If you’ve got a nick in your hamstring and you’re an explosive player at times it is difficult to get out there.
“We don’t fully know the situation.”
“Gareth Bale doesn’t play at Real Madrid, now we’re thinking, ‘do Real Madrid want to get him out the door? Is it Zinedine Zidane, has he been told not to play Gareth Bale?’
“He comes to Tottenham and gets himself fit. He’s been fit for a long time now and Jose Mourinho has seen him train every single day. He’s not playing him on match day. There’s a reason why these players are not playing in the starting XI.
“Jose is going to get the criticism because he brought him back to the club. When you bring someone like Gareth Bale back to the club, you’re hoping, ‘please stay fit and be the Gareth Bale you once were when you wore a Real Madrid shirt and wore a Tottenham shirt’.
“He’s not that player any more.”