Bale insists he's no diver ahead of Everton clash
Tottenham Hotspur winger Gareth Bale has defended himself following allegations of diving, and insists he does not look to win free-kicks or penalties.
Bale is expecting more rough treatment when Spurs travel to Everton in the Premier League on Saturday, with the Wales international suggesting he is looking to avoid serious injury when he goes to ground.
The 22-year-old won spot-kicks in two of Spurs' last three games and Stevenage players were upset when he won a penalty in the midweek FA Cup fifth-round replay victory.
"I try not to get in the way of tackles and if people want to say I'm diving then they can but I'm trying to get out of the way and save myself, save my career if you like," Bale said. "You've got people flying in at you.
"If you stand there, you're going to get a whack. Sometimes it looks like you're diving but if someone's coming across you, you try to get out of the way.
"You can see why people say you're diving but I'd rather get out of the way than get hurt. I tend not to dive."
Bale has only just returned from a tight hamstring and a virus, and he took rough tackles in the win over Stevenage.
Michael Dawson suffered ruptured ankle ligaments in that match and has been ruled out for up to three months, effectively ending the defender's hopes of making the European Championship with England.
Ahead of the Everton clash, Aaron Lennon is a major doubt for third-placed Spurs with a hamstring strain.
Meanwhile, Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard insists his team-mates will be fully focused on defeating Spurs despite a huge week ahead for the mid-table club.
They travel across Stanley Park to play Liverpool in the Merseyside derby on Tuesday before entertaining Sunderland in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup on March 17.
Sandwiched between those games is the 10th anniversary of David Moyes's appointment as Everton manager.
However, Howard said Everton focusing only on atoning for a 2-0 defeat by Tottenham at White Hart Lane in December.
"They beat us down there but I don't think we gave a good account of ourselves, for whatever reason," said United States international Howard, who on Thursday extended his Everton contract until 2016.
"It wasn't one of our best games, but our home form has been very good," added Howard, who first arrived at Goodison Park on loan from Manchester United six years ago.
Everton have overcome leaders Manchester City and Chelsea in their last two home league games, and Howard added: "If we can roll up our sleeves, really get into them, not make it easy for them and press their key players then it gives us a platform to go on and win.
"It's a big couple of weeks but we are up for it. We have the derby and the Cup game is tossed in there which everyone is licking their chops about.
"But we still have some mountains to climb in the league."
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