What has suddenly made Gareth Bale so good?
Spurs are currently on a 10-game unbeaten run in the Premier League and Gareth has contributed many goals in that spell since the 9th December. There is no doubt that he feels he can score whenever he picks up the ball in the opponents half – and that feeling doubles and triples from free-kicks where it seems to be certain that he will score. Success breeds confidence and his hat trick against Aston Villa has led to doubles against Newcastle and Lyon, to go with superb solo efforts against Norwich and West Brom. At the moment it seems as if this incredible run he is going on will never end and the fact that his confidence isn’t deterred by embarrassing misses against Newcastle and Lyon only serves to enhance how high it is.
Footballers love playing under this guy – and who wouldn’t? He seems like a great professional and a great gentleman. But crucially, he brings the best out of players. Lewis Holtby stated upon his arrival of the club how much of a factor the man at the helm was in his move, and it’s clear from watching the players warm up, train and celebrate with AVB post-match how great the relationships are in the squad. This rubs off on every individual player in every game and has done so on Gareth Bale. When our defence was shaky and nervy, Bale was less effective but now we are solid in most areas of the pitch – under AVB’s new systems – and it is clearly having an effect on Gareth. He has the confidence to shoot whenever he feels he could score without being worried about the manager’s reaction – as each member of the squad is more of a friend to AVB rather than a mere subject, waiting to receive a hairdryer.
Whilst Bale is clearly devastatingly effective on the left-wing – indeed, I still believe that to be his best position (remember Inter Milan!) – the move into the middle has done him wonders. He’s got himself into many more scoring opportunities and no longer feels like he must hug the left flank all the time. However, AVB has given him the freedom to roam – he can be anywhere in the pitch and doesn’t feel like he has to get back to the left flank. This makes him more creative, and with a player of his ability and explosiveness this is definitely the best option – and his goal against West Brom and the second against Newcastle proves the point perfectly.
There’s also simply the fact that Gareth has grown up. When he destroyed Inter Milan – home and away – he had only just turned 20 and now he’s 23. Those 2-3 years of any player’s career are possibly the 3 where they improve the most and it’s natural that we would expect a progression from Gareth. However, I accept that his improvement has been so extreme that there is obviously something more than simply him growing up…but that’s what the rest of the article is for.
He clearly works extremely hard in training. It is well documented that he completes one of the furthest distances each week through his forward bursts and this comes from hours of fitness training (he must be on a different regime to Huddlestone). And his sublime free-kicks. It is clear that they are his pride and joy which he must spend hours after training practising and perfecting. And it’s paid off, as 3 of his last 4 goals for Spurs have been exquisite free-kicks.
So that’s the Gareth Bale phenomenon. Do you agree with my analysis? Have your say below…
By Alex Beck
Have something to tell us about this article?