Former Tottenham striker Peter Crouch admitted that it will be difficult for Gareth Bale to rediscover his best form in a Spurs shirt this season, as regular playing time is hard to come by when Harry Kane, Son Heung-min and Steven Bergwijn are playing well.
Bale was welcomed back to Spurs in September as a long-lost family member returning home when he joined the club on loan from Real Madrid, seven years after his initial departure for Spain.
But injuries and fitness issues, combined with a serious competition for spots, have allowed the 31-year-old to come forward sparingly so far. He only has 160 minutes of Premier League football under his belt this season and hasn’t started in the league since November.
Bale has been an unused substitute in each of Spurs’ last two Premier League games, although he made a comeback and the scoresheet in Monday night’s FA Cup win over Wycombe.
Crouch, who played with Bale in the Welshman’s first stint at Tottenham, admits his comeback has yet to go as planned.
“It’s a little frustrating to be honest,” Crouch conceded in a conversation with 90 minutes Ben Haines.
“You can’t dress him, he didn’t go the way he would have liked. But I think the form of the front players kind of made it more difficult.
“He came with an injury. A little with Son and Kane, certainly, and I think Bergwijn too, who is a very good player, it’s hard to break that line up at the moment. As long as they’re okay it would be stupid to really throw somebody out [else] in.
“The only way for him to get in shape is to play games and at the moment he just can’t. He can’t play Premier League games because of these three so strong.
Spurs boss Jose Mourinho told reporters after the Wycombe game that Bale would get more minutes on the pitch when he was able to train at a more consistent level without any setbacks.
“We all know the difficulties he had for a few seasons. We all know he arrived injured, we all know that even this season… a little up and down with little things, ”Mourinho said.
“The most important thing for him is to be consistent in training, at high intensity without any problems, and when a player is consistent in training the player is ready, not to have minutes but to to win minutes.”
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