EPL

Bale enjoying return to form but warns: I'm not 21 anymore

By Sports Desk March 07, 2021

Gareth Bale is not sure he can return to the consistent standard he set in his first Tottenham spell despite enjoying a rich vein of goalscoring form.

Bale has supplied six goals and three assists over his past six appearances in all competitions, having only appeared for 70 minutes or less in each of those outings.

Prior to this superb stretch, the on-loan Real Madrid winger had netted just four times while failing to register a single assist across 16 matches.

Bale's most recent goals came in Sunday's 4-1 win over Crystal Palace in which an outstanding all-round display also included four key passes.

But, asked at full-time if Spurs fans could expect him to replicate the output that saw him involved in 37 goals in 44 games in 2012-13, earning his move to Madrid, the 31-year-old was hesitant.

"Time will tell," Bale told Sky Sports. "I'm not 21 anymore. It is what it is.

"I'm just going to keep working hard every game, taking each game as it comes, and we'll go from there.

"Your body changes over time. You haven't got that kind of youthfulness where you can recover quickly and keep going sprinting for 90 minutes.

"You learn your body as you get older and that's what I'm having to do."

He added: "I feel good. It takes a bit of time sometimes, but I'm experienced enough to be patient. It is what it is.

"You have to feel good, and you have to feel good then to take your opportunities.

"Football's a strange thing; you can go through bad form and good form. It's just about being patient, and when you get your chance, try to take it."

Harry Kane scored Tottenham's final two goals, having created each of Bale's efforts. He became the first Spurs player since Jurgen Klinsmann in 1998 to net at least twice and assist at least twice in the same Premier League match.

The link-up between Kane and Bale would have encouraged coach Jose Mourinho, but the England captain also combined with Son Heung-min for the fourth goal.

Son's assist meant the pair have laid on 14 goals for one another in the top flight this season, a new competition record.

And Bale was amused by the suggestion Son, without a league goal in a month, might be jealous of the partnership the Wales superstar and Kane are enjoying.

"[Kane] is fantastic, an incredible striker," Bale said. "He showed that again tonight and he's been so consistent.

"It's a fantastic performance again from him. We're lucky to have him here.

"Sonny's fine. Obviously all of us want to score, but we all know the most important thing is we score for the team to help the team to get three points and we keep moving on."

Dele Alli, resurgent in recent weeks, did not even make it off the bench, and Bale said of Mourinho's attacking options: "That's why I came here.

"The attacking players we have is amazing – not just the ones who played tonight, but the other ones as well on the bench. We're all pushing each other and it's nice to get the three points again.

"There's a lot of fighting for places. You have to stay on your toes, keep working hard, and we're in a good moment, getting the confidence back and hopefully we can keep it going."

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