Most Spurs fans would have laughed had they been told at the start of the 2009-10 season that Gareth Bale was going to evolve into one of the best left-wingers in the world.
The Welshman still hadn’t been part of a winning side in his first two years at the club and spent a large portion of his time on the treatment table.
Although he had shown glimpses of his quality, it didn’t seem as if he was going to break into the team with Benoit Assou-Ekotto putting in consistent performances at left-back.
However, just a year or so later, the winger was destroying the world’s best right-back in Maicon and scoring a hat-trick at the San Siro.
Former Spurs boss, Harry Redknapp, and striker, Peter Crouch, have now opened up on the experience of watching Bale evolve from a shy youngster into the superstar we see now.
Redknapp denied that he was ever considering loaning Bale out and insisted he was a fan of the pacey star even before he took the Spurs job.
The former Tottenham manager said in the latest episode of That Peter Crouch Podcast: “Gareth Bale was scary. People tell me all the time that I was going to loan him out before he made it big but I don’t know where that came from. I was never going to loan Gareth out.
“I went and watched him play for Tottenham and he played left wing-back that day and ran Fulham absolutely ragged. Absolutely incredible performance but they didn’t win the game. He’d never been on a winning team at Tottenham, had he?”
“You looked at him and I said to Joe (his assistant, Joe Jordan), ‘Oh my god, what a talent’. He had everything. What a player.
“He was 6’2, 6’3, nice build on him, his pace, he could run fast, he could run long distances, he could dribble, he could shoot, he could head it. He had everything.”
Crouch, meanwhile, insisted that the problem was that the Real Madrid man was being played out of position in his early days in North London.
He added: “Watching that transition that season from a left-back, a quiet lad, who didn’t want to get involved. Quite nervously really when he came to games, to carrying the team the season after that. The transition was incredible.
“But he was the best player in training every day. He couldn’t understand why it came to games and it wasn’t happening.
“I’ve said before, it’s like playing Cristiano Ronaldo at right-back. He just needed to be a little further forward, didn’t he? Once everyone worked that out, he was one of the best players in the world.”
Spurs Web Opinion
It was scary how quickly Bale progressed after being played at left-wing. He became one of our most important players by the end of that season and just kept rising for the next three years. He was on almost on Ronaldo and Messi’s level in his final year at Spurs under Andre Villas-Boas when he made a habit of single-handedly winning games for us with wonder goals.
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