Many in north London got the fairytale they had long been dreaming of this summer after Gareth Bale returned to Tottenham Hotspur, the club at which he made his name.
It’s been a slow start to life back in N17 for the Real Madrid outcast but that’s understandable given his lack of match fitness combined with injury niggles.
Bale has played just 38 minutes in the Premier League and last time out against Brighton, he bagged the match-winner, heading home Sergio Reguilon’s pin-point cross.
The £22.5m-rated forward has also been given two run-outs in the Europa League group stage thus far, playing around an hour in both matches and is in line to start against Ludogorets this Thursday.
But Mourinho could do himself a favour to truly get the best back out of the Welshman – instead of playing him on the right, as he has done in all four appearances this season, he needs to switch the flank to unshackle him back to his old Spurs prime.
Let’s not forget, he started out at left-back before Harry Redknapp’s masterstroke to play him further forward – as they say, the rest was history.
Writing in his autobiography (via the Metro), the former Spurs manager said: “Gareth seemed too soft to be a defender so we decided to try him further forward.”
He would then go onto truly announce his name on the world stage, bagging a second-half hat-trick at the San Siro having been 4-0 down. It wasn’t enough to salvage the game, but it would be one will forever be remembered.
Soon after, then-Inter boss Jose Mourinho suggested that Bale could “become even better than Ashley Cole” (Corriere dello Sport, via Tribal soccer) whilst Redknapp lauded his ability, claiming: “The boy has got everything. It’s not just his pace; he can run all day, he’s got the ability to cross, his left foot is great on the run, he can shoot, dribble, head the ball – and he’s also a great lad.”
The true fruit of Redknapp’s labour wouldn’t be seen until the 2012/13, and under Andre Villas-Boas too.
Bale delivered 26 goals and 15 assists in all competitions having played on the left in 33 of 44 matches, per Transfermarkt. It earned him a world-record £86m move to Real Madrid that summer.
Only Cristiano Ronaldo stopped him from continuing that fine form and as such, he had to cement his place down on the right-wing.
Mark Lawrenson’s dubbed him “special,” Peter Crouch claims he’s “unbelievable” and ex-Wales boss Mark Flynn has compared him to Lionel Messi (as per the Guardian), so Mourinho really needs to bring the old Bale back.
That’ll only be done by playing him in his breakthrough position on the left. Sorry, Son!
AND in other news, £10m hotshot with “all the talent” an ideal upgrade to Moura…
The post Gareth Bale: Mourinho can unshackle Spurs star by copying Redknapp masterstroke first appeared on soccerFanCast.com.