Aston Villa.

The Welsh winger notched a hat-trick at Villa Park, with all three of his strikes coming in 23 second-half minutes.

The 23-year-old, who has now scored ten goals this term, drew special praise from his manager after the final whistle:

“He is up there with the best.” Villas-Boas responded when asked by Sky Sports if there were many better players in world football.

“He is showing tremendous skills and talent, I think he is improving every day – he is such a young player – and he is helping the team. He is one of our major assets.

“His personality is wonderful, he is going through an excellent moment of his professional and personal life, and we are benefiting from that.”

The Portuguese coach went on to claim that the pacey winger will get even better:

“I think so. You always expect that the team can make an individual even better.

“The team changes so much from one year to another, and as he keeps learning, he will feel even better and probably his performances will improve.

“His finishing is very accurate. He has been prolific in front of goal this season and I think he is enjoying getting into those positions.

“His left foot is wonderful and the power and direction he applies on the ball is wonderful too.”

Jermain Defoe broke the deadlock shortly after half-time before Bale added the remaining three goals.

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