Opinion: Why Gareth Bale’s display against Wycombe should fill Spurs fans with optimism

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Dom Le Roy

It is fair to say that Gareth Bale’s performance against Wycombe yesterday has divided Spurs Twitter.

Some fans seem to think that the Welshman put in a rusty display and did not show enough to warrant more opportunities.

However, others seem to believe that the 31-year-old’s performance against Wycombe was his best display since his return to North London and that there were plenty of positives to take away from it.

While I can understand why some fans are critical of Bale’s wastefulness in front of goal, I firmly believe that the positives far outweighed the negatives in the winger’s display.

From what we saw of Bale in the Europa League and the domestic cup competitions until yesterday, it was clear that he was hesitant to take any risks.

He rarely turned on the afterburners or tried to take players on, preferring to take more conservative options in possession.

There were even some suggestions from pundits that perhaps the on-loan Real Madrid star should be deployed as a number ten since he had apparently lost his pace.

However, there was a noticeable difference in Bale yesterday as he seemed desperate to prove a point by constantly taking players on and getting shots away.

He showed a tinge or the arrogance and selfishness that he had in abundance during his first spell at Spurs.

It is worth remembering that even during his pomp, Bale was not known for being particularly clinical in front of goal.

However, the Wales international would constantly keep making dangerous runs and getting shots away until he found a way through, which is exactly what he was willing to do yesterday.

While it is true that we were up against sub-standard opposition, we have seen Bale fail to take the game by the scruff of the neck against a similar standard of teams in the Carabao Cup and Europa League this season.

The Bale we saw at Adams Park Stadium yesterday was a much more confident version than the one we have seen so far this season.

Perhaps, the reason we saw him play with more intensity is because he now has more confidence in his body after building up his fitness over the past few months.

Jose Mourinho seemed to hint ahead of the match against Wycombe that the winger had shown signs that he was getting up to speed.

The Spurs boss said (via Sky Sports): “This week he (Bale) 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.”

As proof of Mourinho’s assessment, Bale had no issues completing all ninety minutes and his intensity did not drop until the final whistle.

So was Bale’s performance yesterday a sign of things to come for the rest of the season? Only time will tell but there is certainly plenty of reasons to be optimistic.

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