Gareth Bale was back in a Tottenham Hotspur shirt but it wasn’t the second debut he had dreamt of when he returned to the Premier League from Real Madrid.
Gareth Bale has been in the football world and done it all. Having won the Champions League foo four times, La Liga twice, the Club World Cup three times, the UEFA Cup twice, and the Copa del Rey, he need only have looked across Kane in the 3-3 draw with West Ham United.
Before the match, Mourinho had made it clear to Bale following his second Spurs debut that despite his hard work in training, he was not guaranteed a starting point.
Mourinho said, “the decision not to start him was I think a good decision. A decision to show him he doesn’t have a beautiful chair waiting for him in the team and he sits there the first time he can. It was a message to the team that in this team, everybody has to fight for positions”.
“He’s very well accepted in the group. Everyone likes him and I believe he also likes what he found here. So everything is positive and the focus was not on him. The focus was on the game and he was on the bench for 65 minutes or so and I don’t think at all”.
“It was a pity he couldn’t score the fourth goal which was a beauty and would have killed the game. But that’s football”.
Bale played for 22 minutes including the stoppage time and touched the ball 11 times during the cameo. One of those was an early free-kick he took and the many touches that came during the big chance Mourinho spoke of. The 31-year-old showed his skillful feet to jink into the box only to fire wide from in front of the goal.
However, what was noticeable was that Bale did not work hard in a defensive sense. To be fair, this might have been part of the extensive instructions he got from Mourinho before he came on. Additionally, the Wales international needed to only look across Kane to realize what the team’s top stars need to do in a Mourinho team.
Needless to say, Kane has been spurred by the arrival of Bale unto upping his game. The England international was everywhere against West-Ham.
One minute he was in the opposition box and the next he was sliding into a block in his own area. The next, he was covering for one of the full-backs.
The requirements placed on Bale would be different as he is only four years older than the England captain. However, he is also in good shape and will get sharper and fitter.
Either way, in Mourinho’s team, the Welshman will have to put in a shift for Spurs. He has got nothing to prove to anyone. And Mourinho has repeatedly shown he has no issue with leaving out superstars who will not give everything to the cause.
As a matter of fact, Mourinho has the habit of provoking his starts to see how they react. Most likely, Bale will not be treated any differently.
Tottenham has seen Kane’s best version and Ndombele among others this season. If they get a much better version from Bale that left seven years ago, the 31-year-old will help Spurs tear up the Premier League table.