It is a sad but true reality that now widely acknowledged as one of the best players in the league, if not the whole of Europe, Gareth Bale will spend roughly the same amount of time kicked up in the air as he does on the ball.
As Redknapp has been quoted as saying after recent games, Bale now has to realise that this is a fact of life, and if players cannot out run him, with the Welshman’s pace ensuring this will not happen, they are more than willing to tackle the player, take the foul if they fail to get the ball and show little regard for Bale’s safety.
All the quickest and most talented players have to play through this – there was a time where Ronaldo could not have the ball at his feet during his last season at United without someone from the opposition lunging in to regain possession, and Bale is coming across this more and more as both his and Spurs’ fantastic season progresses.
The tackle made in the dying minutes against West Brom made by Simon Cox pretty much summed up what Bale now has to accept will become a sad reality – a cynical tackle from behind no less which could well have done serious damage to the player.
Yet what is Bale to do? He cannot let his head drop and fail to make an impact on the game, he simply has to weather the storm and emerge a stronger player – Ronaldo has gone on record saying that players in the Premier League are willing to go through the back of you and kick you into the air to win the ball, yet in Spain whilst it is not tackle free by any stretch of the imagination, it is much better and you are allowed to play football.
Of course, Bale is so quick with the ball at his feet that even with the most cynical of intentions, players may well fail to catch him, and for a player who in 18 league appearances has scored 7 goals and managed the same number of assists, Bale is not doing too badly!
It may well be that Redknapp and Spurs will have to push for extra protection for Bale from officials, no one wants to see his talent curbed or the temptation of a long rumoured move to Barcelona finally prove too much due to the persistent cynicism of other premier league defenders – what a loss to the Premier League this would be.
For the time being however, Bale will be playing his trade in North London, and will have to get used to the flying tackles – something which will sadly only increase as his form reaches new levels.
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