Bale reminds me of Glen Johnson, says Spurs boss
HARRY Redknapp believes he has developed another fearsome full-back in Gareth Bale, likening the Welsh international to �18million man Glen Johnson. England right-back Johnson spent over two years with Redknapp at Portsmouth...
By Ben Pearce
HARRY Redknapp believes he has developed another fearsome full-back in Gareth Bale, likening the Welsh international to �18million man Glen Johnson.
England right-back Johnson spent over two years with Redknapp at Portsmouth, who paid �6m to take him from Chelsea before selling him to Liverpool for three times the price last summer.
And the Tottenham manager, who first saw Bale five years ago when he was in charge at Southampton, admits that he can see similarities with his current charge.
"Gareth is similar to Glen Johnson. They have that similar quality and ability to get
forward and run all day," said the Tottenham boss. "They both have skill. Glen comes forward, he can beat full-backs and get crosses in. He comes inside, gets shots in, has
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one-twos. His all-around game has come on and improved since going to Portsmouth. Gareth is the same. He has everything, absolutely everything.
"He's now showing that ability I saw when he was a kid at Southampton. There can't be a better left-sided player anywhere. If he were English he'd be going to the World Cup now, that's for sure.
"He can play left-back or wide left in midfield, he's six foot and has great a physique. He can run all day, has an unbelievable left foot, has skill and his heading is top-class - he can do everything.
"Cliff Jones, the Double-winner, said the other night that Bale will be the first Welsh player to get 100 caps. I didn't realise no-one had."
Bale has had to bide his time under Redknapp, and started just three of Spurs' league games in 2009.
However, the 20-year-old has started all 18 games in 2010, and has been nominated for the Premier League's PFA Fans' Player of Month award for March.
"He has just developed himself. He has got stronger, he's grown up and is tougher," explained Redknapp. "He's mentally tougher. I always felt he would get a little knock and limp off in training. He doesn't do that any more. Maybe it's because I said to the physio 'when he gets injured leave him on the floor. Don't keep running over to him'.
"The defensive part of his game has improved. He realised he had to improve that side of his game. We talked to him about it and worked with him in training. Now defensively he's not vulnerable.
"He's a different boy altogether. He's aggressive, strong and has everything to be a great player. And he's a smashing lad, there couldn't be a nicer boy."
Bale also has an impressive long throw in his armoury, but Redknapp has little time for that.
"He can throw it, but I've never bothered with it much," said the manager. "Could he potentially be our Rory Delap? He could be but we go out in training and try to pass the ball around a bit.