Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 22 July 2014

Mabbutt convinced Bale will stay

Gareth Bale has been linked with a move away from White Hart Lane

Gary Mabbutt is convinced Gareth Bale will shun Real Madrid this summer and remain at Tottenham for many years to come.

Bale was the toast of English football again on Thursday when he picked up his Footballer of the Year award after topping a poll by the Football Writers' Association. The accolade came less than two weeks after Bale's peers in the Professional Footballers' Association had voted the Welshman Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year thanks to his amazing 30-goal tally for club and country.

"Everyone asks about Gareth Bale and his future, but let's look at the facts," said Mabbutt, who played 611 times for Spurs. "Gareth is 23, he is on an incredible salary, he will probably get a new contract in the summer, he has got a beautiful girlfriend, he has a lovely six-month-old daughter, every time he plays football he has a smile on his face, and he also swept the honours board this season."

He added: "You look at that and you think: 'is he happy?' I'd say he is. There is always speculation, but he signed a new four-year contract at the start of the season.

"All his comments on the stage at the FWA awards were about how much he is enjoying his football here. As far as I am concerned, he will be here for a long time."

The Tottenham forward continues to be linked to Real Madrid and other big European clubs, who can offer him guaranteed Champions League football.

Upon collecting his FWA award, Bale spoke in glowing terms about his seven-year spell at White Hart Lane, affirming Mabbutt's opinion that the player is more than happy with life at the north London club.

Bale paid tribute to Andre Villas-Boas when he collected his award at the London Lancaster hotel on Thursday evening. The Tottenham manager returned the favour, praising his star forward while revealing that a tete-a-tete between the two helped Bale go on to produce the kind of scintillating form which has led to him being hailed as one of the best players on the planet.

Mabbutt, who now works as an ambassador for Tottenham, thinks Villas-Boas has developed a strong bond with his players after learning from his mistakes at Chelsea, where his sacking was put down, in part, to a lack of squad unity at Stamford Bridge.

"There is a lot of belief in the squad and there is a big team spirit there," said Mabbutt, who was speaking at the Vauxhall Football Mash Up Roadshow. "AVB has a great rapport, a great relationship with the players and that is showing in some of our performances."

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