Former Aston Villa forward Gabriel Agbonlahor has claimed that Jose Mourinho’s decision to not give Gareth Bale any game time against Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal proves that the Tottenham boss is a ‘very very big manager’.
Bale scored some impressive goals in London derbies against Chelsea and Arsenal, as well against Manchester City, during his first spell at Spurs.
Some Spurs fans would have certainly dreamed of the Welshman pinging one into the top corner against the Gunners after his fairytale return to the club over the summer.
However, the 31-year-old was an unused substitute in all of Tottenham’s last three matches, with Mourinho choosing to start with a front three of Harry Kane, Son Heung-min and Steven Bergwijn.
Agbonlahor suggested that it was perhaps Bale’s unwillingness to put the same sort of defensive shift in as Bergwijn that convinced Mourinho to start with the Dutchman.
He told Football Insider: “Clubs now that have top, top managers if you don’t have the work rate then you don’t play.
“Jose Mourinho is that manager. He’s got his way of playing now, if you can’t cover a certain amount of distance, if you can’t do the high-intensity tracking back, you’re not going to play in certain games.
“Maybe that’s something Jose Mourinho has seen in Bale since he joined the club that he can’t get back and defend at the same level of Steven Bergwijn. Maybe that’s why Bergwijn is playing.
“I’m sure if it’s a game like a Burnley or a Sheffield United Gareth Bale will start because Mourinho will think he doesn’t have to get back and work as hard as much as in the bigger games.”
The former Villa striker questioned if the Real Madrid loanee would be left frustrated at not being given an opportunity to show what he can do in big matches.
Agbonlahor added: “What would be frustrating for me if I was Gareth Bale is when he is ever going to play a big game for Spurs? He didn’t even come on against Arsenal.
“Whenever Spurs play Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool or Leicester City, I can’t see Gareth Bale playing. That must be frustrating for Bale.
“It shows that Jose Mourinho is a very, very big manager because other managers would just play Bale because of his name and what he’s done in his career. They’d find a way to fit him in.”
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