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Flying Bale to start


Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho.

Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho.

Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho.

Jose Mourinho believes Gareth Bale is "arriving" at peak physical condition and confirmed he will start Tottenham's Europa League game with Royal Antwerp this evening (Live BT Sport 2, 5.55).

Bale has been building up his fitness following a knee injury which put the brakes on his second spell at the club following his loan return from Real Madrid.

The Wales international played 60 minutes against LASK last week and looked rusty before being an unused substitute in the 1-0 win at Burnley on Monday.

Mourinho is ready to unleash him against the Belgians and expects him to "fly". "Bale is playing and we all have not just the feeling, but also the data that Bale is arriving," he said.

"He is working very hard. He is being quite a great example for everybody. A big guy like him, travelled to Burnley, stayed on the bench for 90 minutes, didn't play one minute.

"His behaviour as a team guy is incredible. His behaviour as a Tottenham man is remarkable and he is coming.

"I can see just with my eyes but then the scientific data is also coming and he is working very, very well.

"He is improving, he is improving a lot and I think tomorrow we can see already Gareth at a good level and hopefully he can fly because he is working very hard. So he's playing."

Bale returned to Spurs after a seven-year stint of two halves at Real Madrid, with the second half, where he fell out of favour under Zinedine Zidane, earning him a reputation for being disliked.

Mourinho has not seen anything of that back in north London, though.