Gareth Bale was used to having it all his own way at Tottenham… but his brief cameo may have been football’s way of telling him it’ll be different this time around as chance to hit winner goes begging with West Ham netting three AFTER he came on
Tottenham let a three-goal lead slip to draw 3-3 with West Ham on Sunday
Gareth Bale made his return in the 72nd minute with his side leading 3-0
It was his first piece of action since rejoining the club during the summer
The Welshman’s involvement was scarce as his side threw away their lead
It was the last thing West Ham’s beleaguered players wanted. They’d just spent 72 minutes suffering at the hands of Harry Kane only to see Gareth Bale emerge from his seat on the bench, stripped and ready to come on for his second Tottenham debut.
His hair in bun and wearing the No 9 – 30 days after re-signing – Bale was back home, seven years after departing for Real Madrid.
As is it turns out, West Ham players and David Moyes didn’t need to worry.
Gareth Bale’s first game since rejoining Tottenham did not go according to plan
Bale was straight into the thick of the action immediately pulling rank to take the free-kick that allowed his introduction in place of Steven Bergwijn.
His strike from fully 35 yard was easily dealt with Lukasz Fabianski – even by Bale’s sky-high standards scoring with your first touch from a free kick is beyond realism.
Yet, there was a slight tinge of disappointment when Bale’s effort didn’t rocket past Fabianski.
It’s how Tottenham supporters remember Bale. Goals, assists – their very own Superman.
The 31-year-old forward came on in the 72nd minute with his side leading by three goals
He was super-human when he left to become a Galactico in 2013 – everything he touched turned to gold.
Things change, though. Indeed, it may be wise for Tottenham fans to temper their expectations of Bale.
At 31, it remains to be seen whether the Wales international can replicate those barnstorming performances that saw him become the hottest property in European football.
The Premier League certainly hasn’t got any easier as Bale found discovered first hand on his return to the English football.
Bale showed some glimpses of his former self but his involvement in the game was scarce
Spurs were 3-0 up when he came on, they were clinging on for dear life by the end as West Ham scored twice in in quick succession to set up what would turn out to be a phenomenal finish to the game.
Bale’s involvement was scarce as he came on, the majority of his time spent trying to thwart West Ham’s increasingly dangerous forays forward.
Yet, we were still treated to glimpse of his utter brilliance in injury time, Bale searing through the Hammers defence to see the whites of Fabianski’s eyes – only to fire wide when it appeared easier to score.
It was exactly what we remember of Bale. Power, pace and trickery – only the precision that was missing.
The Welshman and his side threw away their lead as West Ham pulled off a stunning comeback
But then Bale was served a cold reminder of exactly how unforgiving England’s top-flight can be.
Agonisingly close to 4-2; moments later Spurs had thrown it all away as Manuel Lanzini thundered home an audacious equaliser to leave Bale’s homecoming in tatters.
When Bale left for Spain, he was used to having all his own way. His 18 minute cameo maybe football’s way of telling him it’ll be different this time around.
That mindblowing treble against Inter, the stupefying volley at Stoke and a thunderbolt against today’s visitors West Ham… Gareth Bale’s first spell was defined by super strikes and breathtaking displays, but what was his finest moment in a Spurs shirt?
Gareth Bale is set to make his second Tottenham debut against West Ham
The Welsh star rejoined Spurs from Real Madrid on loan in the summer window
Bale,31, scored 55 goals in 203 appearances in his first stint in north London
Here, Sportsmail takes a look at his finest moments from that six-year stint
Gareth Bale is in line for his second Tottenham debut when London rivals West Ham visit north London on Sunday – and if his first spell at the club is anything to go by then it could be another whirlwind ride.
The 31-year-old rejoined the club on a season-long loan deal last month from Real Madrid but has had to wait for his bow due to a knee injury suffered on Wales duty last month.
But Bale appears on the verge of a return to the Spurs side having built up his fitness over the international break, and fans are hoping he will provide more of the fireworks that saw him claim a former world-record move to the Spanish capital.
He scored 55 goals in 203 appearances in his first spell with the club, and here Sportsmail delves into Premier League and Champions League archives to look back at some of his best strikes in his first Tottenham spell…
Gareth Bale is in line for his second Spurs debut against West Ham after joining in the summer
Here, Sportsmail takes a look at some of the defining moments from his first spell at Tottenham
Having scored five goals in their previous two games, including three against eventual runners-up Manchester City, Tottenham were expected to make light work of mid-table Southampton.
The visitors created many of the better chances on the day but a piece of magic from former Saints man Bale ensured Tottenham remained on course to push Arsenal all the way for Champions League qualification.
Nine of Bale’s 21 goals that season came from outside the box – a Premier League record for a single season to this day – and the penultimate long-distance effort of the campaign began with him cutting inside and firing at goal while still running at full pelt.
But rather than result in an aimless attempt, it arrowed low and fizzed past the helpless Artur Boruc to the delight of a roaring White Hart Lane.
Bale scored nine league goals outside the box in 2012-13, including this against Southampton
9. Norwich (A) – January 2013
Stunning solo goals have been frequent occurrences for Bale throughout his career and this 60-yard dash against Norwich salvaged a point for Spurs in a scrappy affair at Carrow Road.
A hopeful clearance from Benoit Assou-Ekotto found Lewis Holtby, whose flick was perfect for Jermain Defoe to lay back to the onrushing Bale inside the centre circle in the Spurs half.
But what had not appeared immediately dangerous soon had alarm bells ringing in the Canaries defence as Bale breezed past the challenge of Alex Tettey and beared down on the backpeddling Javier Garrido on the edge of the home penalty area in a matter of seconds.
Tettey and Garrido closed on him but were unable to prevent him from shifting the ball into an area conducive for him to fire into the bottom left corner, which he duly did despite the desperate last-ditch challenge of Michael Turner.
Bale’s 60-yard dash at Carrow Road rescued a point for Spurs at Norwich in a scrappy affair
8. Manchester City (A) – January 2012
It will be chaotic match that will most likely be remembered for Mario Balotelli’s red card escape and injury-time winner from the penalty spot, but Bale’s sumptuous finish restored parity and was the fourth strike in nine crazy second-half minutes at the Etihad Stadium.
Aaron Lennon drove forward on the Tottenham left and checked inside to Bale with the visitors all of a sudden in the ascendancy after Jermain Defoe’s strike had halved the deficit following City goals from Samir Nasri and Joleon Lescott.
However, rather than lashing the ball with power, the Welshman preferred to demonstrate his technical qualities here, sweeping home a delicious strike from just outside the area.
Joe Hart’s scrambling efforts were in vain with neither Gareth Barry nor Samir Nasri able to prevent Bale from exhibiting his finesse with a truly memorable goal.
Bale’s equaliser at Manchester City saw him score the last of four goals in nine crazy minutes
7. Sunderland (H) – May 2013
Tottenham were well in the hunt for Champions League qualification ahead of the final day of the 2012-13 Premier League season, and their talisman struck to raise hopes of making it into Europe’s elite club competition.
They had found it difficult to find an opening against final-day opponents Sunderland at White Hart Lane, and with Arsenal – a place above Spurs in fourth – winning at Newcastle, Andre Villas-Boas’ side’s dream looked over.
However, cometh the hour cometh the man the saying goes and the Welshman did just that in trademark style, smashing home yet another stunning curling effort to lift the roof off at White Hart Lane.
He took one huge shimmy to cut in from the right before unleashing a devastating 30-yard effort that left Simon Mignolet helpless, and despite the day ending in glorious failure with the Gunners holding on in the north east, it was a reminder of just what Spurs would miss after he sealed his £86million deal to Real Madrid that summer.
Bale put Spurs close to Champions League qualification with a stunner against Sunderland
6. Man United (A) – September 2012
There is no shortage of stunning individual efforts in this list and Old Trafford would be the stage of yet another showreel classic for Bale as Spurs ended their 23-year wait for a win at Manchester United.
The move once again originated around the centre circle, with Moussa Dembele slipping the ball to Bale just inside the United half.
Defoe provided an excellent decoy run to attract the attention of Jonny Evans, leaving the Welshman a clear run at veteran defender Rio Ferdinand, who was unable to deal with the Spurs star’s pace.
He had no issue darting past the former England defender before – this time with his right foot – showing commensurate composure to slot the ball into the bottom corner past Anders Lindegaard.
Bale helped Spurs to their first win at Manchester United in 23 years with a stunning solo effort
5. Arsenal (H) – September 2007
Bale netted five Premier League goals against Spurs’ bitter rivals and you have to go all the way back to 2007 for his first which no doubt helped endear him to the home fans after a difficult start to life at the club.
Fifteen minutes into the first north London derby of the new season, the Welshman put the hosts into the lead and made a fool of Manuel Almunia by whipping a ball from the left of the area around the Arsenal wall and past the Spaniard at his near post.
It showed the prowess from set pieces that he naturally possessed and would continue to harness to send Spurs fans delirious as he became more experienced.
But the strike would prove futile as the Gunners stormed back with a double from Emmanuel Adebayor and a thunderbolt from Cesc Fabregas as they claimed a comeback 3-1 victory.
Bale scored five goals against Arsenal in his first Spurs spell, the first a free-kick in 2007
4. West Ham (A) – February 2013
Bale at times single-handedly ensured Spurs remained in contention for a top-four finish during the aforementioned 2012-13 season, and it was his last-gasp stunner at West Ham that well and truly signalled he would ensure they would not fall away before May.
Bale had been fouled in the build-up but after the referee had played advantage, the ball was back at his feet with the Hammers keen to form two solid banks of defensive formation to ensure they were not played through.
However, what no defensive strategy can account for is a bullet from a magician, and that is exactly what Bale delivered in the 90th minute.
Again the shimmy onto his left was too quick for midfielders to react, as was the strike into the far corner which Jussi Jasskelainen did not even have time to dive for.
He ensured Spurs would remain in the top-four hunt with a last-gasp stunner at West Ham
3. Lyon (H) – February 2013
In form in particular for the second half of the 2012-13 season, Bale was making Europe take notice of his talents too.
He had scored Spurs’ last four goals before they faced Ligue 1 side Lyon in the first leg of their last 32 Europa League tie with the French side.
Bale had missed an open goal before he brought the home crowd to their feet by sending a dipping 35-yard effort swerving past Remy Vercoutre.
The game was full of stunning goals and after Samuel Umtiti’s rocket, the pressure once again fell on Bale’s shoulders deep into injury time, and he did not disappoint before arrowing another swerving set piece past the Lyon keeper to give them the advantage heading to France.
The set piece specialist was in full flow by now.
A pair of excellent swerving free-kicks from Bale saw Spurs dramatically overcome Lyon
2. Stoke (A) – August 2010
Previous strikes have shown Bale can add finesse to his finishing quite as easily as merciless power, but no goal was quite as exquisite technically as his unforgettable volley at Stoke.
Bale had already netted in the first half at the Britannia Stadium but Ricardo Fuller’s equaliser meant Spurs had it all to do if they wanted to emerge victorious.
And the goal that would win it would be worthy of claiming a win in any match, beautifully slamming home a first-time volley from a clipped Aaron Lennon cross into the top corner.
Bale celebrating with former Spurs midfielder Jermaine Jenas after his brilliant volley at Stoke
1. Inter Milan (home and away) – October and November 2010
The Champions League ties against the Serie A side well and truly quietened the detractors as one of Europe’s rising stars delivered his pieces de resistance in a Spurs shirt.
A man down, and crucially 4-0 down at the San Siro, Spurs appeared dead and buried and headed for European humiliation in the group stages.
But a sparkling 21-year-old Bale saw the opportunity among all the misery, causing havoc in a miraculous second half that saw him net a mindblowing hat-trick to bring Spurs within inches of one of the greatest comebacks in Champions League history.
Bale’s piece de resistance came with a memorable hat-trick in a 4-3 defeat by Inter Milan
Two of his goals came as a result of devastating finishes after surging down the left-hand side, much to the terror of an ageing Inter defence.
A few weeks later would bring a sense of deja vu as in early November at White Hart Lane he would deliver a performance that is remembered to this day by giving experienced Brazilian defender Maicon his toughest test during his career, terrorising him and setting up two of Spurs’ three goals in the 3-1 win.
Fans knew then that they had unearthed a world-class performer, and now Spurs’ fans mouths will be salivating at the prospect of Bale tearing opposition defences to shreds once again.
He then terrorised Maicon (right) nearly a month later as Spurs beat the Italian side at home
Gareth Southgate warns England’s bad boys that their Euro 2020 place is on the line after fringe players swept aside Wales… as he confirms Tammy Abraham, Ben Chilwell and Jadon Sancho have all tested negative for coronavirus after their breach
Gareth Southgate was impressed by his England fringe players in the Wales win
Danny Ings, Conor Coady and Dominic Calvert-Lewin all scored on Thursday
Southgate warned England’s naughty players they could lose their spots
Three players missed the Wales game due to breaching Covid-19 laws in the UK
Jadon Sancho, Ben Chilwell and Tammy Abraham have tested negative for Covid
Gareth Southgate warned England’s bad-boys their place in his Euro 2020 blueprint is on the line after watching his fringe players sweep Wales aside.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin, on his debut, Conor Coady and Danny Ings all scored their first international goals in the 3-0 win at Wembley, while Jack Grealish and Bukayo Saka impressed on their full bows.
But the quintet may not even have been playing last night if Mason Greenwood, Phil Foden, Jadon Sancho, Ben Chilwell and Tammy Abraham weren’t unavailable for a combination of disciplinary and Covid protocol breaches.
Gareth Southgate says England’s stars could fall out the team to promising fringe players
Danny Ings (L) and Dominic Calvert-Lewin (R) scored in England’s win over Wales on Thursday
‘That in essence is the really big lesson for anyone in that situation, you want to be involved and playing,’ said Southgate.
‘When you have the shirt or a place in the squad you don’t want to allow other people to have the opportunity to take it and whenever we give debuts or give time on the pitch to guys who deserve it, there is opportunity there for them to grab a place and push themselves up the pecking order.
‘Several did that and there is competition for places, not just the squad we named but players just outside that.’
Conor Coady (above) also scored on his first England start in the Wales win on Thursday night
Phil Foden (left) and Mason Greenwood (right) lost their England places due to bad behaviour
Southgate confirmed Abraham, Sancho and Chilwell have all tested negative for Covid after attending a party on Saturday night.
Abraham and Sancho are expected to be available for Sunday’s clash against Belgium, but Chilwell is suffering with a slight illness and could miss the game.
Southgate added: ‘International sport is such an honour and we had four players starting their first match for England tonight.
Tammy Abraham (L) and Ben Chilwell (R) missed the Wales game due to breaking Covid rules
Southgate (left) reminded his players about the importance and the honour of England football
‘All from different parts of the country, all different ages, all different journeys to here, but such a memorable moment for them and their families.
‘Two of them scored and the only sadness is there’s nobody in the stadium to see it because you want to share those moments with a big crowd and feel that adrenaline as well.
‘It’s very special for all of them and I thought they could be really pleased with how they played.’
Gareth Bale steps up return to fitness following knee injury as he’s joined by fellow new recruit Carlos Vinicius in Tottenham training session under the watchful eye of boss Jose Mourinho
Gareth Bale has not made his second Tottenham debut yet due to a knee injury
Bale re-joined Spurs in the summer transfer window on loan from Real Madrid
But he completed training ahead of a return after the latest international break
He was joined by a smiling Carlos Vinicius who has joined on loan from Benfica
They were under the eye of Jose Mourinho who will see the session as a boost
Gareth Bale began his journey back to full fitness after he was pictured in Tottenham training with fellow new signing Carlos Vinicius for the first time since the duo’s arrival.
The 31-year-old Welshman has yet to make his second Spurs debut after re-joining the club from Real Madrid in the summer window following a knee problem sustained on international duty last month.
But having returned to individual training a week ago, he appeared all smiles as he took part in collective training on Wednesday with Brazilian striker Vinicius, who arrived last week on a season-long loan from Benfica.
Gareth Bale and Carlos Vinicius took part in Tottenham training for the first time since joining
They completed the session unscathed under the watchful eye of Spurs boss Jose Mourinho
The 25-year-old – who arrives as back-up to Harry Kane – was also pictured equally as happy as his Welsh team-mate as he got a feel for his new surroundings and joined up with his new colleagues under the watchful eye of boss Jose Mourinho.
Vinicius had only featured twice for the Portuguese side this season before his move to the north London side, so it is expected he will need a few weeks to build his fitness before he can make his debut.
But he did not let the fact his first Spurs appearance may be a few weeks off distract him as he, along with Bale, completed the session unscathed and with a seemingly positive mood.
Bale has yet to make his second Spurs debut due to a knee injury sustained on Wales duty
But he appeared to enjoy training with Mourinho’s men as he starts his journey to be fit again
Bale and Vinicius were joined by other Spurs stars including goalkeeper Joe Hart and forward Lucas Moura, who are in buoyant mood following the club’s 6-1 thrashing of Manchester United put them into sixth place in the Premier League table.
Bale hasn’t joined up with Wales to allow the forward to recuperate from his latest injury.
Ryan Giggs men’ are in action on Thursday when they are expected to take on an experimental side from Gareth Southgate’s England.
But Giggs admits the absence of the Welsh fans will take the edge off his team’s bid to win at Wembley for the first time since 1977.
Vinicius also got used to his new surroundings after he arrived on loan from Benfica last week
Vinicius had only featured twice for Benfica this season so will need time to build up his fitness
‘It would have been so much better with fans, if there was a full house and thousands of Welsh fans coming to support us,’ said Giggs, who led Wales to qualification for Euro 2020. ‘Unfortunately that’s not the case but it’s still a special occasion and one that I’m looking forward to.
‘As a player you remember the defeats in big games more than the wins but of course I had happy memories there, in the FA Cup and the Community Shield. Hopefully there’s another happy memory after this game.
‘To go to Wembley and a win is a big thing for any team. When you play a top-ranked country like England, who have such an array of players to choose from, then it would be a great achievement to win it.’
The duo were also joined in training by Lucas Moura (left) and goalkeeper Joe Hart (right)
Bale will not feature for Ryan Giggs’ Wales against England in their friendly at Wembley
Gareth Southgate will discuss what it means to play for England with his players after Phil Foden and Mason Greenwood’s disciplinary breaches at the last international camp.
Southgate dropped Foden and Greenwood from his 30-man squad for October’s internationals, announced on Thursday, after their liaison with two women at the team hotel in Reykyavik last month.
The Manchester City midfielder and Manchester United forward, both first-time call-ups, were sent home by Southgate after learning of the liaison, which broke the camp’s coronavirus protocols.
The incident followed Harry Maguire’s withdrawal from the squad due to being found guilty of aggravated assault while on holiday on the Greek island of Mykonos. Maguire is appealing the verdict and was recalled by Southgate on Thursday.
The England manager has not permanently exiled Foden and Greenwood, and spoke on Thursday of the need to “rehabilitate” the two youngsters.
Southgate will, however, speak to his squad as a whole before the forthcoming internationals against Wales, Belgium and Denmark in order to remind them of their responsibilities as England players.
“What we found in the last camp was lots of new players coming in,” he said.
“So I think that maybe as a reminder when you have got lots of new players that you have to be a little more… not assuming that people are going to understand how you work and pick it up from the rest of the group.
“But I think always you have to work at culture. It never is embedded forever, it’s constantly evolving, the team group is constantly evolving, as players come and go.
“So you have always got to keep affecting that, keep addressing that and we will discuss the shirt, what it means to wear the shirt and some reminders on how we work – but that’s not a case of reading the riot act.
“That’s a case of asking the players what sort of team they want to be involved in and be a part of and I think they have shown so many positives over the last years. But we had not been together for 10 months.”
Southgate said that he had spoken with both Foden and Greenwood, making it clear that they would not be considered for October’s internationals, though suggested that both players could return for the next England camp in November if they are in form for their clubs.
“I had a chat with both of them before we left Iceland to go to Denmark and explained how difficult the next few days was going to be for them so tried to offer some support there but also I was pretty clear then that it was going to be impossible to pick them for October,” he said.
“At the moment there’s nothing to add to that but I’ll definitely speak to them before the next camp because we were never going to consider them for this one.”
Southgate added: “In terms of the broader message I just think that the last few years we’ve re-connected really well with the public, number one, and we’ve got to make sure we protect that.
“Number two, there are standards of working as a team and your culture as a team that are really important to protect and that will have often be challenged in different ways and has been for us over the last few months so we’ve got to make sure that we’re doing that in the right way, our senior players in particular have a big role to play within that.
“They can help when we’re together now, we’ve got a lot of youngsters coming in, we are a very inexperienced squad. We do like caps, we do lack some experience but we want to give these young players their opportunity.
“It’s the right thing England for the next few years and so those older guys, more experienced guys, have got to help mentor and not only set standards in how they do things but also talk to the younger players explain the difficulties of playing for England, explain how the spotlight’s different to the club, so that’s as a key role for our more senior players next week for a start.”