Jamie O’Hara has suggested that Tottenham’s Gareth Bale may be better playing in a number 10 position, as he feels he’s lost a yard of pace and can no longer make the same kind of impact out wide that he used to.
Bale made a fairytale return to North London in the summer when rejoined Spurs on a season-long loan from Real Madrid, but a knee injury kept him sidelined at the beginning of the campaign.
The 31-year-old attacker is now getting minutes in the first-team as he builds up his fitness and will play Thursday evening in the Europa League group stages against Antwerp.
He’s made two appearances so far this season, with just the one start coming against Austrian side LASK last week in the Europa League.
Despite the excitement around the Welshman’s return, he’s still looking to dust the cobwebs off after a difficult time at Madrid last year and Spurs boss Jose Mourinho is being cautious with him.
O’Hara has raised the point that the right-winger may have lost some pace and may not be as productive in wide areas, which is why he’d like to see the left-footer play more centrally.
“He looks like he’s lost half a yard of pace a little bit He just looks like he’s definitely not fit enough yet and obviously you can get fitness back, he’s older now,” O’Hara told talkSPORT.
“I think he’s going to have to adapt his game because that blistering pace we used to see of him, I’m not sure he’s going to get that back.
“I think it’s a little bit like Ryan Giggs, when Ryan Giggs all of a sudden started losing a bit of pace he came more inside. I don’t know if Gareth Bale is more suited as playing a number 10 now.”
Bale might not be the speedster that he previously was during his first time at Spurs, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be effective in a wide role and he’s certainly got the technical ability to be a goal threat from the wing.
The likes of James Rodriguez and Riyad Mahrez are two top-class right-wingers that don’t possess extreme pace, but they are two of the best in the Premier League in that area of the pitch due to their close control, vision and flair.