Gary Mabbutt has told Football FanCast that some fans do not appreciate the magnitude of Tottenham Hotspur signing Gareth Bale.
The Wales international is slowly returning to full fitness and seems to have unlocked some of the form that saw him become one of the best players in world football in recent weeks.
Bale scored twice at the weekend as Spurs put Burnley to the sword in a 4-0 thumping, a performance that came on the back of a brilliant match-altering cameo against West Ham United, and a goalscoring substitute appearance versus Wolfsberger.
It has taken some time for him to become an undisputed starter, as his start against Burnley was only his third in the league.
But Mabbutt believes he is a terrific player, and thinks he is still underappreciated by certain sections of the support.
Indeed, he feels that the influence of the Real Madrid man will be felt more keenly in the dressing room at times than on the pitch itself.
Speaking exclusively to FFC, the former Spurs captain said: “Well, of course, I think from when Gareth was first signed, I think at times, people don’t actually appreciate just the signing of Gareth Bale.
“I think the impact it had on the dynamics within the dressing room, it made the players believe that the club wants to go places. It made the players believe that they’re now in a dressing room with a world class player.”
Bale is no longer the fresh-faced kid that made his debut for Spurs back in the 2000s, but Mabbutt has insisted he is still a youngster!
There is an element of humour in that, of course, but Mabbutt says he played his final game when he was approaching 37.
He added: “And in a lot of discussions about him, that he’s 31 years of age, he’s still a youngster. In my last game, the Spurs just going up to 37, so with all due respect I think he is a fantastic player.”
Bale struggled to force his way into the team at times at Real, particularly towards the end of his stint, as he made 12 starts in La Liga, and Mabbutt believes that set him back initially.
He added: “I think his time at Real Madrid this last time, with pressures from the manager and the manager not wanting to use him, I think that set him back quite a lot. Certainly for match fitness, game fitness. He arrived to us with an injury. But even though we knew that he couldn’t play for the first like, yeah, three or four weeks, our raising in our performances throughout the whole team was immense.”