Brilliant Bale comes of age at San Siro
Gareth Bale announced himself on the European stage at Inter and TEAMtalk's Rob McCarthy believes there is no better left winger in the game. Tottenham fans have known for some time what a special talent the Welsh whizz-kid is but his second-half display at the San Siro, as Spurs lost 4-3 in a bizarre Champions League clash on Wednesday night, probably tripled his transfer value in the space of 38 crazy minutes. Okay so let's put things in perspective. I realise that Inter were 4-0 up and coasting against 10 men and that the outstanding Maicon had moved into midfield late on, but the way in which Bale tore the whole right side of their team to shreds with sheer pace, power and the poise to find the far corner of Julio Cesar's net three times was distinctly world class. He ran fully 60 yards for the first and produced almost a carbon copy for the second, with his third a more composed finish, as the world's best goalkeeper was left stunned and Inter were very much rattled - if only there was a little more time left, the 4-4 scoreline was very much on. You have to say that Rafael Benitez's Inter were different class in the opening period and took full advantage of a Spurs side seemingly still coming to terms with the fact that they were playing the reigning champions in front of over 70,000 in one of the great arenas of European football. It could have got real messy for Harry Redknapp's boys in that second period but full credit to them, they rolled their sleeves up and had a go and for that deserve a huge amount of credit. But is was Bale who stole the show and I can't honestly think of a better left winger in world football on current form. The 21-year-old was once, unbelievably, labelled a Jonah after having the unenviable record of going 24 Premier League games without being on a winning Tottenham side. In fact I rather harshly had a Bale figurine dangling from a noose (a red elastic band) on the wall in the office until that record eventually fell in a win over Burnley just over a year ago. Since then he has gradually been taking his game to another level (no thanks to me releasing him from his almost fatal neck injury), and although Redknapp sees Bale eventually carving out a career as a top-class left-back, last night's goalscoring antics may well have changed his mind. If only he was English I hear you cry (not from our office I might add as we all know he plays for Wales, despite one individual taking a bit longer than others to realise it). Sadly for Bale I feel he will follow the great Ryan Giggs in never being able to show his immense talent on the world stage at a major championship. But for now I'm just grateful that we've got this very special young player at White Hart Lane, although I'm obviously dreading January coming around. Give him another wage rise now Mr Levy, he thoroughly deserves it.
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