Bale aims to hit new heights
Gareth Bale has warned opponents he can take his game to another level after winning the Wales Footballer of the Year award yet again. The 22-year-old received his award at a ceremony at the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff last night, capping a 12-month period where he has excelled for Tottenham and Wales. While injuries meant he missed four internationals earlier this year, the former Southampton man has performed superbly when available. He was a goalscorer a year ago against Switzerland, who travel to Swansea on Friday, and turned in arguably his best displays for his country in last month's win against Montenegro and the narrow defeat to England. Wales complete their Euro 2012 qualifying campaign with fixtures against Switzerland and Bulgaria within the next week, and Bale believes he can get even better. He said: "It's always nice to win an award, especially when you look at the names who have previously won this award, it's great to be among them. "I want to play as well as I can every game at club or international level and always give 100 per cent. It is good to get awards but as a team the most important thing is we have stayed together and we have progressed. "I am getting a bit older and I am getting a bit more confident in my game, I am learning and I want to take it to the next level, hopefully there is more to come." Victory over Montenegro in Cardiff last month gave Wales their first points of their Group G campaign, and while Gary Speed's side remain bottom of the table, positive results in Swansea and Sofia could potentially see them finish third. Bale feels there is every chance of the Dragons climbing the table on the back of their encouraging showings last month. "There is no reason why we can't finish third," Bale said. "We know they are difficult games and we are not getting carried away with the win against Montenegro, but we are definitely confident that we are going in the right direction, we are playing well and are in good form. "The most important thing now is we have that confidence from the last two games and we want to take that form forward. If we can do that we can start to go places and start winning games." Wales will be hoping for a double success this weekend with the football team facing the Swiss on Friday ahead of the national rugby side's World Cup quarter-final clash with Ireland on Saturday. When it comes to the rugby, Bale will in particular be rooting for his former school-mate and Wales captain Sam Warburton. The pair attended Whitchurch High School together and Bale has sent a note of support to the flanker. He said: "I wrote him a message not too long ago and obviously it's great for him to be captain now and to be at the World Cup and I wish him all the best."
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