Soccer

‘It’s going to take a bit of time’ – Bale seeks to dampen initial expectations after making Spurs comeback

The winger has featured in Tottenham’s last two matches and hopes to keep building up his fitness and form

Gareth Bale’s return to Tottenham has created a huge stir around the club – but he warned he will need time to find his feet again in north London. 

The winger was a huge hit at Spurs in his first spell, making more than 200 appearances and scoring 55 goals in five seasons at White Hart Lane following his move from Southampton

That form caught the eye of Real Madrid, who made him the world’s most expensive player in 2013 by clinching a deal reportedly worth £85.3 million (€100 million). 

Madrid’s faith was repaid with a spell that included two Liga wins and no less than four Champions League titles, but relations with the club ultimately soured and Bale became a near-pariah figure at the Santiago Bernabeu towards the end, culminating in his loan move back to Tottenham. 

And while fans are expecting great things from their returned prodigal son, the Welshman is hoping to take things slowly as he prepares for his latest Premier League match in more than seven years on Monday away to Burnley.

“It’s going to take me a bit of time to get my match fitness and sharpness going,” Bale, who made his ‘second debut’ for Spurs coming off the bench against West Ham last weekend before starting midweek against LASK in the Europa League, signalled to reporters. 

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“It’s another game towards the process of getting fitter, sharper, quicker. I just enjoyed being out there playing football – that’s what makes me happy.”

Jose Mourinho made a host of changes from the side that drew 3-3 with the Hammers for the European date, but the manager’s selection was vindicated as they ran out easy 3-0 winners over the Polish side to start their Europa League campaign in style.

“It was a professional performance, These games can be difficult, if you don’t take them seriously. We took it very seriously,” Bale added.

“We have a lot of strength in depth and great players but we’re in a lot of competitions. We’re going to need everyone throughout the season.

“It’s a great squad to be in. Hopefully, we keep pushing each other and can achieve what we want.”

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