It’s the puzzle defenders up and down the land want solved: how do you stop Gareth Bale? Solutions have ranged from doubling up to blatant fouling, but beleaguered markers will be pleased to hear there might be another way to halt the Welshman: hide his tape.
Invented in the 1970s by Japanese chiropractor Dr Kenzo Kase, Kinesio tape – the strange strapping Bale has been sporting this season – has been key to his form.
More after the break
“I think it definitely helps in those games where I cover a lot of ground,” says the Spurs winger. “It gives you confidence that you can carry on running without getting injured.”
With specially devised taping methods, it uses compression and support to aid the body’s healing process, minimise pain and inflammation, and relax tired muscles.
Physios across the country have been attending courses to master the art of Kinesio taping.
The psychological boost is a positive by-product, says Aaron Harris, Tottenham’s academy physio. “If it makes a player feel more comfortable, that can be the difference between him thinking about technical and tactical things and ‘My body is going to break down’,” says the Aussie.
“It can make a massive difference to performance – more than one or two per cent.”