Sport Soccer

Sunday 21 January 2018

Bale central to Spurs' Euro hopes

Gareth Bale
Gareth Bale

ANDRE Villas-Boas knows Tottenham must help Gareth Bale to fulfil his potential or he will do so elsewhere. The Spurs manager admitted keeping Bale was "intimately related" to qualifying for the Champions League.

And, with Emmanuel Adebayor in a rush to make tomorrow's game against Newcastle, Villas-Boas may allow Bale to play up front.

Villas-Boas conceded having a player as good as Bale was "extremely difficult," and that without Champions League football next season it would be harder to keep him.

"This is where most of the clubs want to be, and where most of the players want to play. It's part of our objectives, so, hopefully, achieving it means we can attract better players and hold on to our best players."

Bale had said last April that if Spurs did not qualify for the Champions League he would "have to sit down and discuss and see what's best for myself." Tottenham finished fourth, but did not qualify for the Champions League because Chelsea won the competition, but Bale signed a new four-year deal last June.

Villas-Boas does believe Bale might better realise his potential playing up front. He started as a second striker at the Hawthorns on Sunday. "There is a possibility that we continue with the 4-4-2 with Gareth as a striker," Villas-Boas said about tomorrow's game.

"Playing him up front with somebody else can help his game too, in terms of space that the other can create and the link-up play. Gareth is such a phenomenal player that he is able to do that kind of role. So, it means a player can explore his full potential through the middle. Gareth feels good in that position. If he's able to fulfil his full potential, it's something we have to consider for the future."

Irish Independent

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