Tottenham Hotspur star buzzing ahead of Inter tie
Gareth Bale’s relationship with manager Andre Villas-Boas is in no doubt after the Welshman gave his daughter the same initials as his boss.
Bale’s team-mate Jermain Defoe has warned Inter Milan ahead their visit tonight (Thursday) in the Europa League last 16 clash.
Defoe, who also became a father recently, told the newspaper how happy Bale is at the moment and hopes the happiness translates into more positive performances on the park.
He said: “Gareth has little AVB, little Alba. Her middle name is Violet. He is loving it – and you can tell by how he’s playing.
“He’s a happy person. He has his daughter and that stability is important as a professional.
“He’s buzzing at the minute and I think it helps. During the course of the season you get times when players are just flying.
“Gareth is on fire at the minute. We have a laugh and joke with him, but at the same time we let him get on with it. If he keeps it going it’s great for the club.”
History to repeat itself?
It was just over two years ago, in the Champions League, that the 23-year-old scored a magnificent hat-trick in the San Siro against the Italian giants.
Even though Spurs lost the tie 4-3, it set the foundations for Bale to reach the potential that he is now showing in the Premier League.
The wing wizard faced Maicon, who has since left the Nerazzurri to move to Manchester City, that night, then again at White Hart Lane in the return fixture, which the Lilywhites won 3-1.
Portuguese Villas-Boas, though, believes that Bale is even better now, and expects his star man to have bags of confidence after scoring 16 league goals already this season.
The 35-year-old told the newspaper: “I think Gareth has evolved as a player. He is even more threatening now.
“We’re two years on from when he played against Inter. He plays in a different position and I think he’s become a different player, a bigger player and more complete.
“He’s the kind of player who can determine the outcome of a game, as we’ve seen in recent matches.
“Gareth was always an extraordinary young player coming through, but to develop into the world-class player like he is now is down to his talent, his ability and his willingness to triumph.
“He has taken the right steps at an early age. He’s been involved with a lot of first-team football since he was 16 or 17 and now he’s developed into a world-class player.”
Defoe, though, still expects Bale to follow in the footsteps of Cristiano Ronaldo and become a “goalscoring machine”.
The former Manchester United player scored 17 goals in his first three years at Old Trafford, before scoring 100 times in his final three seasons with the Red Devils.
The 30-year-old Englishman added: “Gareth’s a great player, I think what he’s done in the past couple of months has been unbelievable.
“It’s quite similar to Cristiano Ronaldo at United. In the first couple of seasons he was just a natural winger – he used to do all his tricks and maybe had more assists than goals.
“Then he just totally changed his game to goals and became this goalscoring machine.
“I think Gareth’s done exactly the same. Before, he was a natural winger and used to beat players and cross the ball in, but now he’s changed his game.
“He wants to finish as top scorer all the time, even in training. It’s a good thing to have that hunger in your belly where you want to finish top scorer – and he’s not even a forward, he’s a winger. That’s great.
“I think he’s realised he’s a great finisher with a great left foot. When things aren’t going well he can just get the ball, beat two players and score. He’s that special.”
Defoe is fit to start the tie against Inter, following an injury lay-off, with Bale expected to play in the role just behind the striker.