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ESPN FC Posted by ESPN staff
Mar 1, 2013

Comolli: Bale should stay at Spurs

Former Tottenham director of football Damien Comolli believes Gareth Bale should remain at the north London club to help continue his development.

Bale's wonder strike against West Ham capped a marvellous Premier League encounter
Gareth Bale is in the form of his life at the moment

Bale, 23, has been in blistering form this season and has hit nine goals in his last seven games.

The Wales international’s recent performances have seen him been compared to the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, while Europe’s top clubs are believed to be keen on acquiring the player’s services.

Despite talk of a possible move to Real Madrid in the summer, Comolli, who brought Bale to White Hart Lane from Southampton during his time at the club, feels Spurs is the perfect place for the forward, providing they can qualify for the Champions League.

“He is in an ideal place as long as Tottenham reach the Champions League,” he told the Daily Telegraph. “At the moment he is carrying Spurs towards the Champions League, but he has all the time in the world to move on if he wants to at some stage. He is having the time of his life at White Hart Lane so why not stay there and continue?”

Comolli, who left Tottenham in 2008 before heading to Liverpool for a two-year stint as director of football strategy, says that Bale’s potential to be a top player was clear from a young age.

“With young players it is very often a combination of things that marks them out, and with Gareth you could see he was just a perfect cocktail,” he said. “The first thing was that his physical attributes were awesome. He had pace, power and great strength even at 17 playing against adults in a professional league.

“He had a magical left foot, he could always get out of trouble, he was difficult to close down because he always had an escape route. Even playing at left-back he could cause problems in the final third and create chances.”

Bale originally found life at Tottenham tough, gaining few first-team opportunities in his first season under former manager Harry Redknapp.

The club even thought about selling the player - who was not on the winning side in his first 24 Spurs appearances - however, Comolli places all the credit at the feet of Bale himself for having the ability to succeed.

“For me being outside the club I thought, ‘This is crazy, if they lose a talent like him for childish reasons’, but he stayed and played on. He owes his development to himself rather than any one coach,” he said.

“With Gareth you can’t say anyone has had a huge hand in his development because he had so many setbacks. But he has got great self-belief, he is very strong mentally and an incredibly hard worker.”

Comolli feels that direct comparisons with Ronaldo are misleading because Bale is not “a finisher”, but concedes they both share an ability to dominate games physically.

“When they get the ball, they can beat anyone over five yards, or 50 yards or 80 yards. Their pace and the ability to create something from anywhere on the pitch is very similar. They dominate the game and their opponents in a very similar way,” he said.

Comolli added: “I was expecting Gareth to come into his prime in the next year but he is already able to physically dominate a game, and there is a lot of room for improvement. He will improve his finishing and he will get stronger. He will be at his best when he is 26 or 27. It is scary how good he can be.”

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