Gareth Bale famously suffered a 24-game winless streak at the start of his Spurs career before finally tasting victory for the first time in a lilywhite shirt (Guardian).
Many supporters will fondly remember the two matches against Inter Milan in the Champions League during the 2010/11 season which cemented Bale’s place as one of the brightest talents in European football.
However, the Welshman had already started showing his true class towards the end of the 2009/10 season and played a crucial part in helping Tottenham qualify for the Champions League for the first time in the club’s history.
There was one week in particular, when Tottenham had to face back to back derby matches against Arsenal and Chelsea in the April of 2010, just days after suffering a shock defeat in the FA Cup semi-final against Portsmouth.
Tottenham needed six points from the two games to keep their hopes of finishing in the top four alive and Bale proved to be the hero as he scored in both games and helped Spurs to 2-1 wins over both their fiercest rivals.
While people tend to recall Danny Rose’s amazing volley against Arsenal on his debut, it was Bale who proved a constant menace down the left-flank in both matches.
Ledley King and Michael Dawson looked back on the memorable games ten years ago for the club’s official website and both players reserved special praise for Bale.
Speaking about that derby games, King said: “Danny Rose’s goal, I’d be lying if I said I was expecting it! It was hit like a rocket. It was a dream debut. What more could you ask for?
“Gareth Bale was really starting to show what he could do. I remember him being quite down earlier that season. We spent a bit of time together in the gym when he was recovering from injury.
“He had that record where he’d played without winning a game, that affected him at the time, but he had that belief in himself and we all saw what he was capable of once he had a consistent run of games.”
Dawson, who partnered King at the back in both those games, added: “It all started with that goal from Danny Rose, an incredible volley. You dream of goals like that. Gareth Bale scored in both games. I remember him cutting in from the left and hitting it right foot against Chelsea.
“They scored late in that game and I had to make a challenge on Drogba late on. Things like that stand out. Gareth, some of the goals he scored were incredible.
“He’d just get you up the pitch with his speed and power, you’d be defending in your area and he’d get it and just run the length of the pitch! The next season, Champions League, talk about making a name of yourself… special times.”
Spurs Web Opinion
It is safe to say that week ten years ago was the most important of Gareth Bale’s career. If not for his heroics towards the end of the season, we wouldn’t have qualified for the Champions League and he wouldn’t have been able to destroy Maicon and rise to fame in the process. In fact, you could see the Welshman getting better and better every match as his confidence was growing towards the end of the 2009/10 season.
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