gareth bale may already strike fear in the fc internazionale milano ranks but according to tottenham hotspur fc manager harry redknapp the 21-year-old's best is still to come.
if tottenham hotspur fc youngster gareth bale did not deliver a sufficiently thrilling show of his prodigious talents at san siro a fortnight ago, his manager harry redknapp has further highlighted his potential by saying he will only get better.
bale, 21, was the talk of european football after the second-half hat-trick that took tottenham from four goals down to 4-3 at fc internazionale milano on matchday 3 and, according to harry redknapp, the spurs manager, the sky really is the limit for the welshman. "he's still really young and can only get better," redknapp said. "he's got height, power, can run all day, shoot and dribble. he's a great athlete, it's all there for him."
redknapp added that keeping bale's feet on the ground after his scoring feats in milan had not been a problem. "he keeps his feet on the ground himself. he's such a quiet level-headed boy. he's not at all flashy. i gave him a couple of days off because i thought he needed a rest."
bale's achievement and the spirited response of his ten-man team to falling 4-0 behind inside 35 minutes in milan has convinced the youngster that tottenham can turn the tables in london. "it was nice to get a hat-trick but the most important thing is to get the victory," bale said. "we want to get the points and get to the knockout stage and the only way to do that is winning.
"we don't need any motivation. it's going to be a massive game. we all want to test ourselves against the best and they are the current champions. it will be a big game but at home we are always confident we can win and have the players to do that. this time we'll be fully prepared from the first whistle and hopefully give them a run for their money. it's important we learn from our mistakes."
with bale's batteries recharged, redknapp is hopeful he and his spurs team-mates will go into the group a return fixture against the uefa champions league holders buoyed by their second-half fightback in milan. "they know, as i said, that we can cause inter problems," said redknapp.
"maicon is supposed to be the best attacking right-back in the world but he had problems stopping gareth going the other way. don't get me wrong, though. we know how hard it's going to be. i saw inter last year win at chelsea and they were fantastic. they've got some proper men in their team – [dejan] stanković, [esteban] cambiasso, people like that. they've got some great competitors, but we've got a chance. if we can take four points from the last two home games, it should be enough to see us through to the knockout round."
tottenham sit second in group a with four points, three behind inter. redknapp was full of praise for inter's "excellent" movement in the sides' first meeting and warned his team to avoid another false start after shipping three goals in 11 minutes in italy.
"they play and run, play and run, and we have to be switched on properly from the start. at one point i thought it could be five, six or even seven-nil, which would have been terrible. but we've got good players here and we know we can cause problems in certain areas of their team. there are definitely parts of their team we can hurt, though obviously i can't divulge too much yet!"
this is tottenham's first uefa champions league campaign and redknapp adds that his players are in no way intimidated by the experience. "in terms of the group stage, i have a squad of internationals here so they haven't been fazed so far," he said. "the croatian boys came to wembley and beat england not so long ago. some of the others played in the world cup this year so it's certainly not a question of, 'oh my god, it's the champions league'."
gareth bale was inspirational again as tottenham secured a superb win against the european champions.
tournament newcomers tottenham hotspur fc left their fans in dreamland with a victory against fc internazionale milano that lifted them above the uefa champions league holders and into first place in group a.
rafael van der vaart, peter crouch and roman pavlyuchenko got the goals that rewarded some wonderful attacking football from the hosts, not least gareth bale who followed up his san siro hat-trick with another thrilling display of wing play, setting up two of the goals and giving maicon a torrid time down the left. samuel eto'o had given inter a glimmer of hope when making it 2-1 ten minutes from time but this was tottenham's night.
tottenham's five uefa champions league games before tonight had yielded 25 goals and this was another open game full of positive intentions. eto'o and luka modrić had already threatened at either end when the latter fashioned spurs' opener after 18 minutes. benoît assou-ekotto slipped a pass in field to the croatian international who jinked past sulley muntari then slid a superb reverse pass to van der vaart. the dutchman, his run timed to perfection, made no mistake with his left-footed finish.
spurs should have had a second goal in the 25th minute when bale sped past maicon down the left and delivered a far-post cross that crouch sliced wide on the volley. inter saw more of the ball as the half came to a close and almost had their equaliser only for carlo cudicini, deputising for the suspended heurelho gomes, to tip over wesley sneijder's free-kick.
both teams had to make changes – van der vaart did not come out for the second half while muntari limped off soon after the restart – but the force was with spurs. bale hooked a shot a whisker wide with castellazzi stranded after punching weakly under pressure from younes kaboul; then castellazzi tipped over crouch's header. on the hour spurs got their deserved second and it was no surprise that bale was the architect. the 21-year-old raced from the halfway line, leaving two inter players in his wake, before crossing low for crouch to slide the ball in ahead of walter samuel. the pair did it again soon after but bale had let the ball run out of play before crossing.
eto'o ensured some jitters when he wriggled clear of alan hutton on the left of the box and found the bottom corner for his seventh goal in the group but spurs made sure two minutes from time as bale broke free again to tee up pavlyuchenko. there was still time for diego milito to hit the crossbar but it was spurs celebrating.
orta hakem: viktor kassai (hun) assistant referees
yardımcı hakemler: györgy ring (hun), tibor vámos (hun)
4. hakem: ferenc bede (hun)
çizgi hakemleri: mihaly fabian (hun), tamás bognar (hun)
tottenham: carlo cudicini (gk), alan hutton, gareth bale, younes kaboul, tom huddlestone (c), aaron lennon (dk. 85 wilson palacios), rafael van der vaart (dk. 46 jermaine jenas), william gallas, luka modrić, peter crouch (dk. 76 roman pavlyuchenko), benoît assou-ekotto
yedekler: stipe pletikosa (gk), robbie keane, sébastien bassong, niko kranjčar
teknik direktör: harry redknapp (eng)
inter milan: luca castellazzi (gk), javier zanetti (c), lúcio, lúcio, wesley sneijder, sulley muntari (dk. 53 obiora nwankwo), maicon, walter samuel, cristian chivu, goran pandev (dk. 71 diego milito), jonathan biabiany (dk. 64 coutinho)
yedekler: paolo orlandoni (gk), iván córdoba, marco materazzi, davide santon
teknik direktör: rafael benítez (esp)
goller: dk. 18 rafael van der vaart (1-0) dk. 61 peter crouch (2-0) dk. 80 samuel eto'o (2-1) dk. 89 roman pavlyuchenko (3-1)
sarı kartlar: dk. 39 alan hutton, dk. 72 jermaine jenas, dk. 90+2 luka modrić (tottenham) dk. 36 walter samuel, dk. 51 cristian chivu, dk. 86 lúcio (inter milan)
bale'in bu maçtaki performansı gerçekten muhteşemdi. hele son golde kendi sahasının ortalarında aldığı topla sol kanattan giderken interin sağ bekinin sağından atıp solundan bir geçişi vardı akıllara ziyan... sonra topu aldı ve yerden muz bir orta ile golü attırdı... bale ikinci golü de aynı kanttan ve benzer bir orta ile attırmıştı...