“I cannot give players minutes” – Mourinho challenges player to earn his place

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Dom Le Roy

Jose Mourinho has insisted that he is not going to give Gareth Bale minutes on the pitch to play himself into form and challenged the Welshman to perform consistently in training and earn the right to play.

Bale has not had the kind of impact he would have hoped for after completing a fairytale return to Tottenham Hotspur in the summer and does not look anywhere close to breaking into Mourinho’s first-choice eleven as things stand.

Reports indicate that the Spurs boss likes having Real Madrid loanee around at the club and that he has been a positive influence on the changing room but with half a season now gone, time is running out for the 31-year-old to show that he can still cut it at the top level.

When asked if the winger needs minutes to build some momentum, Mourinho told Sky Sports: “I cannot give players minutes, minutes on the pitch is not something I can give, so I’m not going in this direction.

“We all know the difficulties he had for a couple of seasons, we all know that he arrived injured, we all know that even this season (has been) a little bit up and down with small things.

“The most important thing for him is to be consistent, training without any problems and when a player is consistent in training, high intensity without any kind problems then the player is ready.

“Not to be given minutes, but is ready to earn minutes, and that for me is a difference.”

However, the Tottenham boss did reveal that Bale has stepped it up a notch in training recently and hinted that the Wales international will get an opportunity against Wycombe.

Mourinho added: “This week he is working every minute like everybody else at a good intensity and let’s see the way that he reacts to the accumulation of that kind of work and let’s see how he reacts by the end of the week.

“The match (against Wycombe) is Monday and we still have training sessions to evaluate that. It is also about his confidence. If he feels that the week that he’s had has had a positive impact on him and, on his confidence, he will play.”

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Reading between the lines of this statement as well as Mourinho’s previous revelations, it sounds like the main concern around Bale is his fitness. Perhaps the Welshman is still not confident enough to really push his body beyond a limit as he is concerned that he might breakdown.

With the Euros coming up in the summer, the last thing he would want is to pick up a long-term injury. With a few months of regular training under his belt, hopefully, his body is starting to acclimatise again to the rigours of playing regular football. I expect him to have a much bigger impact in the second half of the season than he has done so far.

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