January could turn out to be a vital month for Tottenham in terms of where they finish in the Premier League, but for one player in particular it is massive. Gareth Bale is entering make-or-break time at White Hart Lane, if he doesn’t step up now then his Spurs career is likely to fall by the wayside. As Benoit Assou-Ekotto is leaving to play in the African Cup of Nations for Cameroon in January, then Bale should get an extended run in the left back position. So January is last chance saloon time for Gareth Bale, but does he have enough about him to salvage his Spurs career?
Gareth Bale’s talent has been well publicised since Tottenham signed him from Southampton for an initial fee of £5 million in 2007. Wind-on two years and the Welshman is still pretty much in the same position, with the question remaining as to whether he can turn his potential into reality. Bale has made less than fifty appearances for Tottenham in his time at the club and has failed to cement his place in the side for a sustained period of time. It didn’t help that his best position remained up for debate, now current Spurs manager Harry Redknapp definitely sees him as a full-back, but is Bale strong enough defensively?
Redknapp certainly has a lot of belief in Bale and isn’t holding back in his praise for the 20 year old. Harry told The Times “I’m not looking for a left back because you won’t get a better one than Gareth Bale. He’s an excellent player.” If that doesn’t give Bale the confidence to go out and perform on the pitch then nothing will and Harry now feels that “he’s beginning to take his game forward.” So it could turn out to be a case of better late than never for Bale and it’s easy to disregard the fact that he is still incredibly young and has time to develop. Whether that development happens at Spurs is another matter.
There is no reason why Gareth Bale can’t still become a permanent fixture at White Hart Lane. Though he still has plenty to learn defensively, Bale has enough attributes to make it at the top level. His height makes him useful in the air, the quality of his left foot delivery makes him ideal for taking set-pieces and putting in crosses when he gets forward and he is technically very sound. He has now also put that losing hoodoo behind him and should be full of confidence with the support that his manager is giving him. So will January prove to be the making of Bale at Tottenham?
Many Spurs fans may be dreading the fact that Assou-Ekotto is unavailable in January and will want him to return as quickly as possible. Gareth Bale will have to prove that he can deal with the threat posed by wingers in the Premier League and to some extent he will be thrown in at the deep end. The question is, will Bale sink or swim as he enters the last chance saloon at Tottenham and can he still salvage his Spurs career?