One to Watch - Gareth Bale
Name: Gareth Bale
Date of Birth: 16/7/1989
Former Clubs: Southampton
League Appearances (Goals): 148 (26)
International Appearances (Goals): 33 (6)
Stat of the Day Gareth Bale has more assists this season (11) than his combined tally for his previous four seasons in the Premier League
Having watched both Southampton prodigies Theo Walcott and Gareth Bale play at Loftus Road a few years back, it was clear who was going to be the one courted by Barcelona a few years down the line. While the rash Matthew Rose managed to contain an appalling Walcott, it was Bale a year later who impressively managed to strike up a greater interest with this hard-to-please football fan. His pace, talent with the ball and set piece delivery was exciting to watch, and a mere five years later the Welshman is unsurprisingly regarded as one, if not the, best left sided player in the world. Bale`s extraordinary talents with the ball, undoubted athleticism, game changing moments and mainstream pathetic goal celebration makes him the model professional footballer. The eternally deluded Spurs fans believe Champions League football should be a foregone conclusion, and so will no doubt be furious when Bale leaves in the summer for £30 million to further his promising career and join a fitting Champions League team.
It seems bizarre that it took 24 games for Bale to win his first game in a Spurs shirt and was considered for a loan spell at a Championship club at the beginning of the 2009/2010 season. An injury to regular left back Assou-Ekotto saw Bale seize his chance and the 22 year old hasn`t looked back since. It`s annoyingly hard to fault the left midfielder; once he gets going, it`s incredibly hard to stop him. Add to that his impressive work ethic and imposing attacking attributes and you can see why he is regarded as one of the best players in the world. It was his eccentric performances in the Champions League against Inter Milan that made the world look up and take notice and should the Welshman continue to take his performances to the next level it won`t be long before we see his name under the list of Ballon D`Or nominees.
Gareth Bale started his career at Southampton and at the age of 16 years and 275 days became the second youngest player ever to play for the club, when he made his debut in a 2-0 victory over Millwall. It didn`t take long for the youngster to introduce himself on the professional stage and he was soon regarded as one of the brightest young talents outside the Premier League, winning the Football League Young Player of the Year Award in 2007. His impressive performances and five goals in 45 appearances soon earned him admirers from bigger clubs and in May 2007 he signed a four year deal with Tottenham for a fee potentially rising to £10 million.
Opportunities were limited at the beginning of his Spurs career, but 34 appearances in the 2009/2010 season saw the Welshman earn rave reviews throughout the campaign. He was soon catapulted from the fringes of the first team to an integral part of Spurs` side, where he was named the PFA Player of the Season in 2011, at the tender age of 21. The midfielder already has over 100 league appearances and 21 goals to his name, and this only looks like on getting better.