Alan Hutton has revealed that Tottenham almost let Gareth Bale leave before the Welshman established himself as a regular in the starting eleven under Harry Redknapp.

Bale is considered by many Spurs fans to be one of the club’s best players of the Premier League era, with the winger being nearly unplayable during his final few years at Tottenham.

Gareth Bale Ryan Mason

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His reputation has only grown even further thanks to the various trophies he won during his time at Real Madrid after making the switch to the Spanish capital in the summer of 2013.

However, it was certainly not all smooth sailing for Bale at Spurs, with the Lilywhites not winning the first 24 matches in which the Southampton academy graduate featured after his move from the South Coast (ESPN).

Hutton explained how had Benoit Assou-Ekotto not gone to the African Cup of Nations, thus forcing Harry Redknapp to play Bale at left-back, the winger might have joined Nottingham Forest.

The former Spurs right-back told The Daily Star: “Gareth Bale had a difficult situation, he had all the talent in the world but just needed an arm around him from what I could see.

“I think it was January and Assou-Ekotto was playing left-back, Bale’s position at the time, and he got a call-up for the Africa Cup of Nations.

“Bale had to then step in and play, but prior to that there was word he was going to Nottingham Forest. I’m not sure if it was a loan or permanent but that says to me that [Tottenham manager] Harry [Redknapp] didn’t fancy him.

“But once he came into the side he used the opportunity to show his talent and the rest is history.”

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Bale’s story is just one of many which shows just how important confidence is in getting the best out of players, particularly those who are young. That is why we will never know how good the likes of Djed Spence and Bryan Gil can turn out to be unless they get a run of consecutive starts under their belt.

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