Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville admits the sight of Gareth Bale smiling on the Tottenham bench has annoyed him all season.
Bale moved to Spurs on loan in September, after falling out of favour with Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane. The Wales international arrived to much fanfare having spent six years at the club earlier in his career.
But things have not gone to plan in north London, with Bale making only two Premier League starts. He has enjoyed seven league outings in total, scoring one goal.
The former Southampton ace did start all six of Spurs’ Europa League group games last year. He has also featured on both the FA Cup and the EFL Cup.
But, for a player with four Champions League winner’s medals, it is a poor return. Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho seems to have taken a similar view to Zidane, refusing to give him game time on reputation alone.
Bale has joined Dele Alli on the sidelines, with the England man also frozen out by the Portuguese coach. He has made just five top-flight appearances and 14 in all competitions.
It seemed as though the former MK Dons ace might leave in the January transfer window. But he remained at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium to fight for his place.
Neville has been unimpressed with both players. Speaking on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football, the former England defender pulled no punches.
He doubts whether either player will see much action under Mourinho. And he feels Bale has given off the wrong signals while watching from the sidelines.
“Is he (Mourinho) going to bring Dele Alli and Bale round?,” he said. “I’m not saying he has to pander to these players because to be honest with you, Gareth Bale’s wound me up all season, just watching him smile on the bench.
“Dele Alli, to be fair, I’ve worked with him at England. He’s a brilliant talent but he should be doing a lot more, I want a lot more from him, he’s an outstanding player.”
Talent going to waste
Bale will be 32 in the summer while Dele is seven years his junior. Both stars should be playing regular football, especially with the European Championship on the horizon.
Neville feels the man with 37 England caps needs to make the best of the situation to fulfil his potential.
“Deliver on a great career,” he added. “There’s a reason why his career’s doing what it’s doing, it’s not just Jose Mourinho, Dele’s got to get hold of it himself.”
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