Glenn Hoddle raises concerns over ‘fragile’ Gareth Bale since Tottenham return

Glenn Hoddle has claimed Gareth Bale is looking “fragile and tentative” as his mixed start to life at Tottenham continues.

The Welshman secured a dramatic Spurs return during the summer window, signing a season-long loan deal from Real Madrid.

Bale had become an afterthought at the La Liga giants, with Zinedine Zidane deeming him surplus to requirements at the Bernabeu.

That meant that after returning to the Premier League, Bale lacked match sharpness and has been used sparingly by Jose Mourinho.

The majority of Bale’s minutes have come in the Europa League, starting all six group stage fixtures. In Thursday’s clash with Royal Antwerp, the winger was handed the start, but was withdrawn shortly before the hour mark.

Mourinho opted to take him off just moments after his dipping free-kick led to the Spurs opener. A trademark Bale effort was tipped onto the woodwork, allowing Vinicius to break the visitors’ resistance.

But speaking after his substitution, Spurs legend Hoddle believes Bale isn’t where the club would have hoped him to be, with question marks over whether he can ever return to his best.

“By now, I would expect him to be ahead of where he is, he looks fragile and tentative when he goes in and when it is tight,” Hoddle told BT Sport.

“He still seems unsure of his body, he hasn't quite got that change of pace. It is getting there but whether he gets it back again is the big question mark, and that was the big risk bringing Gareth back to Tottenham.

“But I feel there is more to come, which will elevate Tottenham's performance as well but it just feels like he is on the back foot.”

Will Gareth Bale rediscover his best form at Tottenham? Have your say here.

Bale has been an unused sub in Spurs’ last three Premier League games and Hoddle is urging him to show more, in order to break into Mourinho’s line-up.

“I'd like him to show a bit more intent and aggression in his mind and prove to Jose ‘I need to be in the first team in the Premier League’. I don't see that at the moment,” he added.

“If that player is still in there anywhere what he was like two, three or four years ago, then Tottenham go into another gear.”

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