Former Aston Villa striker Gabriel Agbonlahor has claimed that Gareth Bale is not likely to start for Tottenham in their matches against the big teams due to the pragmatic style of play Jose Mourinho employs.
Bale did not play a single minute against either Manchester City or Chelsea, with Mourinho starting with Steven Bergwijn up front alongside Harry Kane and Son Heung-min.
While the Dutchman did not showcase his attacking quality in either game, he worked his socks off and put in a major defensive shift.
Bale’s only Premier League start since returning to Spurs came in the 1-0 win over West Bromwich Albion ahead of the previous international break.
The Welshman did show signs of getting back to his best during Tottenham’s 4-0 win over Ludogorets in the Europa League last week, however despite scoring against LASK last night his performance was not of the same standard as his previous outing.
However, Agbonlahor believes the 31-year-old is unlikely to start against a so-called ‘big six’ side even if he regains full sharpness due to the way Mourinho sets the team up in those games.
The pundit told Football Insider: “I think with Spurs, Jose Mourinho will play different styles and different formations to get results and that’s a sign of a team fighting for the title.
“He could have easily played Gareth Bale and played Dele Alli or Giovani Le Celso from the start and been more open.
“He’s very clever, he doesn’t mind keeping stars out of the team if he gets the results that he wants.
“I’m sure Gareth Bale isn’t very happy with not coming on against Chelsea but I think Jose Mourinho is picking the best players to get the best result on the day.
“When it’s an easier game on paper, I’m sure Gareth Bale starts.
“Bale, knowing the player he is and from what I’m told, will be quite frustrated.
“It looks to me that every time Spurs are playing a top-five team, he’s not going to play.
“Will he even play him against Arsenal? Will he stay with Bergwijn because he’s better defensively?
“It’ll be very frustrating for Bale because he knows he’ll be getting judged on his goals at the end of the season and if he’s not got many they’re going to call it a bad signing.”
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