Bale wants to get stuck in the middle with Spurs
Published 22:34 28/12/11 By Simon Bird
Gareth Bale insists he is ready to take his game to another dazzling level after revelling in a new free central role for Spurs.
Left-sided Bale had a super campaign last season, notching 11 goals playing left midfield and left-back, including a hat-trick in the Champions League at Inter Milan.
His heroics saw him named PFA Player of the Year but he admits getting fed up as opponents often TRIPLE marked him on the flanks.
Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp has now moved Bale inside to a more central midfield position behind striker Emmanuel Adebayor. And he responded with a brace in Tuesday’s 2-0 win at Norwich, which included an impressive solo goal to take his tally in the Premier League to eight.
Now Bale, 22, says he can contribute even more to third-placed Tottenham’s emerging title push.
“It’s exciting, definitely,” he said. “I’ve never really thought about playing through the middle but since people have been double marking and triple marking me, it is something I have had to bring into my game.
“I have always played out wide previously. But, especially with the team being the way it is, it is great to be in there and I am enjoying it.
“It is good to contribute and the whole team is contributing – we are not just relying on one goalscorer.
“Over the last 12 months I have had to mix my game up. I am improving all the time, especially in the free role. I feel like I’m improving as a player and it is showing on the pitch.
“For a little while I’ve been coming off the line and getting in spaces. It is important I mix my game up and try and help the team rather than be stood out on the wing marked out of the game sometimes.
“It is important everyone keeps getting involved and getting on the ball and helping us get the results we are getting. Changing my game has made me a better player. And it is still something I’m hoping to improve on.”
Victory at Norwich left Spurs seven points behind both Manchester United and Man City with a game in hand.
Bale believes his new position makes Spurs more “adaptable” and flexible with their formation to confuse other sides. And he says his own fitness is better without the added strain of playing in the Champions League.
So morale in Redknapp’s squad is high ahead of Saturday’s trip to Swansea with Spurs having only lost once in 15 League games.
Bale added: “It is great to get the two goals but ultimately the whole team is thrilled and we are buzzing.
“We spoke about it before the Norwich game that a lot of other teams around us have dropped points this fixture list.
“It was massively important we got the win to put the pressure on all the teams above us and below us. We want to keep the run going.
“We are playing some great football and hopefully we can keep that going against Swansea at the weekend.
“We know ultimately we have to keep concentrating. It is not even halfway through the season and nothing is achieved halfway. We need to win as many games as we can, especially against the big teams.”
Bale got a lot of stick off Canaries fans about his appearance but silenced their cruel jibes.
He said: “It happens every week. It is nothing different. I shut them up by scoring a goal, which was good.”
But the Welsh international is hoping for a friendlier welcome this weekend when he returns to his homeland.
He said: “It will be a good experience. Hopefully I get a good reception. I’ve played at the Liberty Stadium a few times for Wales and it is a great stadium.
“Swansea play some great football and we know it is going to be a hard game. One we have to be 100 per cent concentrated on to get three points.”