Ryan Mason will be sweating on the fitness of one of his key Tottenham Hotspur stars ahead of kick-off this evening…
Gareth Bale has emerged as a major doubt to feature in their clash with Aston Villa in North London, meaning the 31-year-old may not receive a send-off in front of the fans for one last time before he is due to return to Real Madrid.
The 29-year-old interim revealed his concerns in his pre-game press conference ahead of tonight’s encounter. When asked about Bale’s involvement, he told reporters, via the Evening Standard:
“I am not sure. Gareth was probably the best I have seen him all season at the weekend. He was sharp, he was running at players, he has that confidence back of playing in repetitive games and he feels confident in his body,” Mason claimed.
“He also knows his body. He is a question mark for tomorrow. We are not sure whether or not he is going to be ready. It is down to the player, he is experienced enough.
“We’ll see. Like it was with Serge [Aurier against Wolves], if a player doesn’t feel 100 per cent, I don’t feel confident enough, we have enough players ready, enough players competing, that want to play.
“If a player doesn’t feel 100 per cent and it is not right then he won’t play.”
If he’s absent, it will come as a massive blow to the interim head coach as he has relied on Bale’s exploits immensely since he took over from Jose Mourinho a month ago.
10,000 supporters will get to attend the match this evening, so it will also be a gutting blow to them, with Bale’s future still up in the air. The Evening Standard claim it is unclear whether he will return beyond his one-year loan agreement from the La Liga giants.
After another 89 minutes in the bank on Sunday afternoon, it was only the second time that Bale had started four or more consecutive matches but the first involving so many minutes on the pitch, so understandably he may be a little jaded.
Spurs also know that a win over Villa would seal a place in Europe next season as they won’t be able to finish worse than seventh place, and their chances of clinching all three points are damaged if Bale is sat in the stands.
Heading into 6pm, Mason will surely be worried as he mulls over who could replace him in the starting XI.