Bale form is big boost for Redknapp

Fabio Capello looks to have solved England’s problem on the left

flank by starting Steven Gerrard there and alternating mid-match

with Wayne Rooney, but before the appointment of the Italian the

position was troublesome. Giggs would have fitted the bill

perfectly but chose to represent Wales – the 36-year-old is now

retired from international football – and there are hopes of Bale

stepping into his boots. After Bale’s performance against Blackburn

on Saturday, Redknapp said: “For sure, it’s a shame he’s not

English, but I’m sure Wales are pleased to have him. He’s over six

foot and can dribble, run with it, shoot, cross. He’s got the lot

and will have a terrific future, I’m sure.” Bale is relishing the

challenge of helping his club reach the Champions League after

finally getting his chance to shine at White Hart Lane. He arrived

with huge hype from Southampton nearly three years ago, with Spurs

having fought off interest from Manchester United – but nothing

went right initially for the £10million signing. Ligament

damage to his right foot limited his impact in his first season,

then Redknapp arrived as boss last year and could not rely on Bale

defensively. Redknapp told the BBC: “Gareth is such an outstanding

player but people forget that he is just a boy and was learning the

game when I came here. “When I came here I felt he was never taught

the game and needed to learn. He had natural ability but so much of

his game needed working on. “He’s matured, progressed and got

stronger and looks a fantastic player whether he plays left-back or

wide left, he’s shown he can play both. If you look at him against

Blackburn there wouldn’t be a better left-sided player in the

country.” It was only an injury to left-back Benoit Assou-Ekotto

that gave Bale a chance in January but he has grabbed his

opportunity with both hands and remained in the team, on the left

side of midfield, following the Cameroon international’s return.

“The gaffer has given me a chance and I want to keep playing well

and keep doing well for the team,” said the 20-year-old. “We’re all

confident here, obviously it will be tough to finish in the top

four but we’ll be doing our best.” Bale picked up the

man-of-the-match champagne against Blackburn after consistently

getting the better of Michel Salgado. The 34-year-old has 53 caps

for Spain and spent a decade at Real Madrid but Bale kept breezing

past him. Bale set up one of Roman Pavlyuchenko’s two goals in the

3-1 win, while Jermain Defoe grabbed his 23rd of the season, his

highest personal tally for a campaign. Redknapp’s men were helped

by former Spurs goalkeeper Paul Robinson picking up a calf injury

that will require a scan before it is determined how long he will

be sidelined for. “He’s a great goalkeeper and has been England’s

number one,” Bale said. “It was disappointing to see him go off but

we had to capitalise on it.” After Defoe tapped in the opener,

Pavlyuchenko’s finish went through substitute goalkeeper Jason

Brown. Christopher Samba pulled one back before Pavlyuchenko scored

his eighth in six games. Blackburn felt they should have had a

penalty at 0-0 when David Dunn was brought down by Vedran Corluka.

“It’s an easy decision because his right leg goes across him and

there is no contact with the ball,” said Rovers boss Sam Allardyce.

“It would have put pressure on Tottenham to come out and would have

given us a real boost and something to hang onto. It was a big

major decision that went against us.”