Redknapp salutes Bale progress

Left-back Bale joined Spurs as a teenager in a deal worth up to

£10million from Southampton back in May 2007. He failed to

make an immediate impact and to make matters worse Spurs failed to

win any of the first 24 league games he played in. The emergence of

Benoit Assou-Ekotto limited Bale’s left-back chances even further,

although he was given a chance on the wing. He has grasped his

opportunity with both hands and illustrated his growing confidence

with a weekend brace in their 2-1 win over Stoke. Redknapp insists

Bale needed to mature at White Hart Lane and needed to focus on

building his strength rather than spending hours on his hair. “Bale

has grown up,” said Redknapp. “When I first came to Spurs, Bale was

still a baby, he always seemed to be limping off the training

ground every time he got touched. “He realised he had to be tougher

if he was going to make it in the Premier League and he has done

that. “Have I had to talk to Bale about mental toughness? A bit,

yeah. I just said, ‘Stop messing about with your barnet’. “I said,

‘C’mon Gareth, stop messing about with your hair’. He was always at

it. “I can’t think of a better left-sided player than Bale. “That

left foot of his is amazing, he can run all day, he can head it,

he’s 6ft 2in. He has got everything. “You couldn’t even put a value

on him now. Almost any club would want him.”