Redknapp takes credit for Bale's development
Harry Redknapp: I made Gareth Bale into a tough player
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Former Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp has claimed that he made Gareth Bale the player he is today by toughening him up when he was at Spurs. The Wales international was viewed as an unlucky charm during the early parts of his Tottenham career, as the club had gone several matches without winning when Bale was in the side. There was even talk of Bale being loaned out or even sold when Harry Redknapp took over.
Redknapp has dismissed those suggestions in an exclusive coverage of his forthcoming autobiography by Daily Mail. He has said that Bale used to go to the ground too often in training. On Redknapp's suggestion, the club's medical staff did not tend to him immediately and this played a major role in toughening him up. Redknapp said,
"There is some right old rubbish talked about Gareth Bale's time with me at Tottenham. Was I ever going to sell Bale? No. Was I going to loan him? No.
"It was the same pattern every morning: Gareth would tumble and stay there, and they'd all go running over. In the end I told them just to leave him alone.
"His biggest test will be to step out of the shadow of Cristiano Ronaldo with confidence.
"His relationship with Ronaldo is the key to it all. If Ronaldo feels threatened by Gareth's arrival, Madrid could be a lonely place."
Bale recently completed a world-record £86 million move to Real Madrid, where Cristiano Ronaldo – who was the former holder of this record – commands a lot of respect. Ronaldo is the designated freekick and penalty taker for the club, which would not provide Bale with a lot of opportunities to score from set pieces according to Redknapp.
Bale so far has been a disappointment at Madrid, but most of the fingers are being pointed at the club rather than the player. It is believed that Ancelotti gave Bale his debut against Villarreal when everyone clearly knew that he was not fit. It appears that Madrid wanted him to play in the match because of the transfer fee and interest involved. Since then, the 24-year-old has been in and out of the sidelines due to niggling injury problems.
British players like Jonathan Woodgate and Michael Owen have previously failed at the Santiago Bernabeu, but Redknapp reckons that Bale is good enough to be successful.