Bale thrilled with central role

Bale thrilled with central role

Published Jan. 21, 2012 1:16 p.m. ET

Spurs' Welsh talisman - who has netted seven Premier League goals so far this campaign - may still wear the traditional left-back No.3 shirt at Tottenham, but after a sensational 2010-11 season on the left wing, is now causing teams problems by moving into a more central position.

The impact of the 22-year-old's transition from the flank to the middle was perhaps most evident in Spurs' 2-0 success at Norwich in December - a game in which Bale struck twice - and the former Southampton trainee believes the experience is helping him become a better all-round player.

"I need to improve myself as a player and I spoke to the coaches at Tottenham about it," said Bale. "Being stuck outside is not good all the time. You need to mix your game up and give the opposition things to think about.

"It got to the stage last year when I was standing on the wing, playing well, with a lot of freedom, hurting teams and being targeted by defences.


"It was a case of teams putting two players on me, staying really tight and trying to mark me out of the game, which is quite easy to do when you're stood right out there with not much room.

"So I've had to adapt my game. The full-backs can't follow you inside and the strikers occupy the centre-backs, so it gives you that bit of space - if you get into lots of pockets you're able to turn and run at defenders, it's just as good as being on the wing."

Bale believes the ability to move inside from his starting position on the left wing is also helping the team and the Welshman is full of praise for his manager Redknapp's philosophy of letting players express themselves.

He added: "If I'm not getting the ball, I'm not helping the team. I want to be involved, get as much of the ball as I can, so that's why I've had to go inside to be a positive influence on the game.

"The good thing about the gaffer is that if you're good at something, he wants you to do it. He lets you express yourself."