Bale issues warning to rivals

Gareth Bale has warned Tottenham Hotspur’s rivals that they have yet to see the best from him.

The 21-year-old has been a revelation for Spurs this season, producing dazzling displays in Europe and domestically, making him one of the most wanted men in football.

Despite that, Welsh international Bale insists he can still develop aspects of his game, with help from left-back Benoit Assou-Ekotto.

“I think I can improve everywhere,” he told Sport magazine. “But definitely with my right foot. I’m starting to come infield a bit more, rather than just staying out wide.

“Defenders obviously know of my threat going down the line, so they’ve started to try and cut that off a lot more, but if I come inside then maybe that creates a bit more space for Benoit.

“I mean, he may not be too happy about that, he might want to sit back and relax, but it’s good for our game to mix it up a bit. It’s good to give your defender something to think about.”

Recent speculation suggests that Bale, who joined from Southampton in May 2007 for a fee that could rise to £10 million, could be leaving White Hart Lane at the end of this season.

While admitting he is delighted with the interest he is receiving, the youngster, who signed a four-year-contract last summer, says he has no intention of leaving.

“It’s obviously nice when the big clubs are looking at you, because it shows you’re improving as a player. But I’m happy at Tottenham, I’m playing well and enjoying my football," he said.

“I’m learning a lot, playing every week, and as a young player that’s exactly what I need. I came to Tottenham knowing that it was a club going forward and wanting to be part of that; and now, eventually, I am.

“We’ve broken into the top four, qualified for the Champions League, and I’ve been a part of the team to do that. That’s an extra special bonus for me.”

By Joe Whitbread