Belfast Telegraph

Monday 24 November 2014

Bale finds room for improvement

Gareth Bale has accrued a host of personal accolades this season
Gareth Bale has accrued a host of personal accolades this season

Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year Gareth Bale believes he can get even better next season.

The Wales international, 23, topped the 2012/13 poll of journalists with a narrow victory over Manchester United forward Robin van Persie, who was last year's recipient when at Arsenal, and received the prestigious accolade at a gala dinner in London on Thursday evening.

Bale's 25 goals have helped take Andre Villas-Boas' men into the quarter-finals of the Europa League and kept them in the race to secure a return to the Champions League. Bale was also named Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year by the Professional Footballers' Association. "Hopefully there is a lot more (to come)," the Wales forward said.

"I have only just started in my new free role in the middle, so there is still a lot to learn in that position for me, I still need to kind of figure out a few things - which is important. As I say to myself every season, I want to improve again, there are still things I need to improve, there are things which need working on in more areas than others, and I can do that."

Despite the setback of Wednesday night's 2-2 draw at Chelsea, Bale maintains Tottenham can head into the final two games of the Barclays Premier League season still hopeful of securing a top-four finish, which would secure Champions League football.

"Everyone at Tottenham still believes, we know it is not in our hands, but there are a lot of funny things which can happen in football," he said. "The main thing is we need to concentrate on ourselves and hope that little bit of luck goes with us."

The FWA award has been running since 1948, when Sir Stanley Matthews was the first recipient of a long list which includes the likes of England World Cup winning captain Bobby Moore, the Charlton brothers, George Best, Kevin Keegan, Eric Cantona, Dennis Bergkamp, Thierry Henry and Cristiano Ronaldo.

"When you look at all of the past winners, the legends of the game, this is a massive honour, and to be on the list with them now is a massive privilege," Bale said as he received his award from FWA chairman Andy Dunn at the Lancaster London Hotel.

"You always dream of things like this, whether they come true or not is another, but now that it has, it is a massive achievement for me, but one I could have not done without my team or my manager. The team has been fantastic this season and we have played some very good stuff, it is always easier to play in a really good team.

"The manager has been fantastic for me, playing me in different positions where I am able to find the space and actually show my stuff. I have really enjoyed my football and been able to play well."

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