Harry Redknapp has told The Sun that he is not buying the idea that Gareth Bale will be nothing like the player that left Tottenham Hotspur for Real Madrid seven years ago.
Bale looks to be edging towards his second Spurs debut. There will certainly be plenty of Tottenham fans hoping that it comes on Sunday as they take on West Ham United.
When Bale does take to the pitch, there will a huge amount of intrigue surrounding the Welshman. There is no question that he endured a frustrating end to his time in Madrid, particularly in his final year.
And now he is 31, it remains to be seen if he can be the game-changer that prompted Los Blancos to sign him from Tottenham in the first place.
But Redknapp – who, of course, managed Bale for a large portion of his first spell in North London – has backed the attacker to silence all doubters.
“I’ve heard people saying that the Bale we see now won’t be a patch on the one who left Spurs for Real Madrid seven years ago — but I’m not having that,” he told The Sun.
‘It’s scary how good he is’
“Gareth is a naturally fit lad and looks after himself. And even if he has lost half a yard of pace, possibly even a yard, so what?
“He was that quick he’ll still be faster than 90 per cent of those he comes up against.
“There is so much of Gareth’s game that reminds me of Ronaldo. It’s scary how good he is.”
It will be fascinating to see how Bale gets on. Few Tottenham fans will be aware that it will be asking a lot to expect Bale to immediately change games.
However, as Redknapp suggests, there is unlikely to be a single opponent who is willing to take the prospect of coming up against Bale lightly.