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Rewind to Boxing Day 1963

Barclays Premier League
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By ESPN Staff

Tottenham starlet Bale out for three months

Juande Ramos' need to bolster Tottenham's left flank has intensified following news Gareth Bale is likely to miss the next three months with a foot injury.

Bale, the 18-year-old Wales left-back, will undergo an exploratory examination to determine the extent of a sprained ligament in his right foot, an injury sustained last week against Birmingham.

Benoit Assou-Ekotto is out for the season with a knee injury and Ricardo Rocha is still out with an ankle problem. At the moment Young-Pyo Lee is the only recognised left-back available.

Spurs are refusing to rush back Bale despite a shortage of numbers in defence.

'Gareth is obviously disappointed to be sidelined for this length of time but he is still young and we have to do what is best for him in the long-run,' said Spurs sporting director Damien Comolli.

Former boss Martin Jol had identified the left side of midfield as the area he needed to strengthen in the summer but nobody was brought in, leading to full-back Bale impressing in an advanced position.

Steed Malbranque has played there recently but he and full-back Lee are both right footed, while Bale appeared a natural choice on the left flank.

The Wales youngster injured his foot accidentally following a challenge from Birmingham midfielder Fabrice Muamba.

'Following a review of all the scans Gareth will now undergo an examination under anaesthesia to determine the damage sustained to the foot,' Comolli added on the Spurs website.

'Even if the examination reveals that his foot is stable the decision has been taken to bring him back slowly to ensure he does not get a repeat of the injury or suffers any further damage.'