Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho has admitted he has no idea when Gareth Bale will make his second debut for the club after rejoining Spurs on Saturday.
The Wales winger’s return after six seasons at Real Madrid was confirmed at the weekend although Bale will only join on loan for the season.
The 31-year-old played for Wales last month, completing 90 minutes in the Nations League win over Bulgaria, but has otherwise played very few minutes in recent months.
He made just 12 La Liga starts last season with Zinedine Zidane rarely calling upon Bale’s talents despite his contributions during his stint at the Bernabeu.
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But when fully fit, Bale will inject extra quality in a Spurs attack that put five past Southampton at the weekend, with Son Heung-min scoring four at St Mary’s and Harry Kane providing all of the assists for his South Korean team-mate.
Mourinho admits however that he is unsure when he will be able to name Bale, Son and Kane together in a frightening front three.
But the Portuguese coach is confident that the north Londoners can get the two-time PFA Players’ Player of the Year back to the kind of level that saw him earn an £85million move to Real Madrid in the first place.
He said: “I don’t know when Gareth can be back.
“The only thing that I know is that the motivation is high, he is so happy to be with a club of his heart, he is so happy to play for us.
“When a player has this motivation, many, many times you can shorten the period of recovering and shorten the period of getting fit and ready to play and we want to help him.
“So when he is available to train with the team, we are more than happy to have him and to be back to a level that maybe one of the best players in the world.”
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Bale was joined by another new recruit on Saturday as Spurs also signed Sergio Reguilon from Real Madrid, spending £27.5million to bring in the left-back.
Reguilon trained on Sunday but Mourinho insisted that he will not be available to play until “the end of the week” – effectively ruling him out of featuring in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday night.
Spurs take on fellow London club Leyton Orient and Joe Hart should make his debut in goal, while Dele Alli – left out of the travelling squad altogether at Southampton – could also play.
Mourinho also wants to be able to call upon Kane, however, after his sensational performance on the south coast.
The Spurs boss said: “Harry in principle he has to be (there).
“Especially in these matches against these teams, in theory, inferior and, in theory, teams that are going to defend against you, you need a striker.
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“I want Harry to play, let’s see if he can, if he feels ready to move.
“He’s an experienced player, he knows his body better than any sports science guy or any medical guy. If he is ready to play, of course he will.”
Spurs go to Leyton Orient on Tuesday night knowing they are in action again on Thursday night, taking on Macedonia’s KF Shkendija in Europa League qualifying.
Mourinho’s men only narrowly found a way past Bulgarian outfit Lokomotiv Plovdiv last week, with Spurs coming from one goal behind after Plovdiv had two men sent off to score twice in the final 10 minutes and win 2-1.
Their next Premier League outing pits them against Newcastle, who are looking to pick themselves up after a 3-0 thrashing at home to Brighton on Sunday.
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