Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 29 November 2014

Gareth Bale yet to justify hype

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 03:  Gareth Bale of Spurs celebrates following his team's 2-1 victory during the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal FC at White Hart Lane on March 3, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 03: Gareth Bale of Spurs celebrates following his team's 2-1 victory during the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal FC at White Hart Lane on March 3, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)

Had I known beforehand that 5 Live would spend most of the build-up to Sunday's North London derby talking about how 'world class' Gareth Bale is I would have urged caution.

And, if I'd been aware the first sports desk following the commentary would be along the lines of 'Cometh the Hour, Cometh the Man' I'd have said ... no, look at the evidence.

Yes, Bale scored the first Tottenham goal but, on this occasion, there were far more important Spurs' players on view. If you'd put the centre-backs in white shirts into red ones instead, I think there'd be one point between the sides this morning, not seven.

Bale is a good player, a very, very good one but it is absurd the way media as well as public hype tries to elevate such rare examples as there are in 'British' ranks onto a stage that usually sees only Messi and Ronaldo. Never mind them: would you really swap a Xavi or an Iniesta for the Welshman?

Of course, I hope Bale is one day worthy of such esteem. But let's see him do it over five or six seasons rather than one or two. Give him time to 'breathe'.

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