Everton manager David Moyes and defender Phil Neville have admitted that Gareth Bale will pose a real threat when they take on Tottenham on Wednesday night, but are confident that they can stop the flying winger.
The Wales international has went from strength-to-strength over the last 12 months, and is a pivotal attacking outlet for the North London side.
With Bale impressing for Harry Redknapp’s men this season, Neville knows he will have to be at his best when he comes face-to-face with the wideman.
“I see a better player than the one from last season,” Neville told The Daily Mail.
“Gareth is adding things to his game every year. When I was young, each year I was told “you have got to add something new to you game” – you have got to try and improve five or 10 per cent if you can.
“I see him doing things now that he wasn’t doing 12 months ago. Teams have tried to block him on the flanks but he has started coming into the middle. He has started scoring a lot of goals and that is something he has added.
“What do I remember of the game last year? I was given a lot of help by my team-mates, as is always the case. You never get left on your own when you play for Everton. But he is maturing into an outstanding left-winger –he’s probably the best in the Premier League if not in Europe right now,” the veteran stated.
Moyes also understands the threat that Bale poses, but feels that his players can deal with the winger and Spurs’ other attacking players.
“When I watched Tottenham the other week, you could see they were playing in a way to make Bale more elusive so he couldn’t get picked up in wide areas
“What excites you most about Bale is his speed. He is a terrific crosser of the ball. He has the modern look of an athlete now – he is tall, quick, slim and powerful. He has also got that ability.
“He is certainly one of the top players in the Premier League but I don’t have any fears about my squad.
“Our games against Tottenham in recent years have been very close and competitive. I would hope that will be the case again. Tottenham have done very well but I would be expecting our big players to stand up and be counted in a big game,” he concluded.
By Gareth McKnight