Former Wales boss Chris Coleman has urged Tottenham Hotspur not to give up on attacker Gareth Bale just yet.
“He’s been out for a long time, and he’s finding it hard to get back in and get his rhythm,” Coleman told Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football.
“We all know what a world-class player he is. He can win a game, he can score a goal from nothing, he’s got a last pass.
“But when I’m watching him now it looks like he’s always on his first game back after an injury. Obviously, we expected him to be in the flow of it by now, but he clearly isn’t.
“He’s only 31, so I wouldn’t write him off. I don’t know what’s happened at Tottenham but knowing Gareth, he’s a very serious boy about his football, and he loves playing football.
“I’ve heard comments that maybe he’ll be happy to be on the bench. He won’t be happy on the bench – not the Gareth Bale that I know.
“He will very much want to be in the heart of it, and if he’s not quite there yet, he’s either not ready physically or maybe mentally there’s a lack of confidence.”
The 31-year-old returned to Spurs after seven years away at the start of the season, as he joined on loan from Real Madrid.
Bale hasn’t hit the ground running since his return, as he has managed just one Premier League goal in six appearances. However, his chances have been limited, as Jose Mourinho has often named him as a substitute.
At this rate, it is hard to see Spurs trying to sign Bale on a permanent deal at the end of the season.
Real Madrid deemed Bale surplus to requirements at the end of last season, and they could face serious problems should the player end up returning to the Santiago Bernabeu next summer.
Bale’s contract with them expires at the end of the 2021-22 campaign, meaning that they may have to continue paying him and potentially even include him in their squad until then.
Given his age and lack of game time recently, it is difficult to see many elite clubs rushing to secure Bale’s signature unless he turns around his form.