Gareth Bale’s behind the scenes verdict on Joe Rodon will excite Tottenham fans

Gareth Bale believes that Tottenham Hotspur defender Joe Rodon will become one of the top centre-backs in the Premier League.

Spurs signed signed Rodon, now 23, in October last year for £11m from Championship side Swansea City.

The young Wales international signed after the deadline to be registered for the Europa League and that impacted on his playing time in his early months at the club.

As the season wore on he showed plenty of promise when thrust into Tottenham’s defence in the Premier League, only to drop out of the team when Ryan Mason took over as interim head coach from Jose Mourinho.

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In all Rodon made 12 Premier League appearances in his first season in the top flight, as well as playing in the FA Cup for Tottenham.

Off the pitch, he formed what became known as “The Welsh Mafia” with compatriots Bale and left-back Ben Davies and has become a popular member of the Tottenham squad.

Now with Wales’ Euros campaign looming, having seen the young defender up close all season, Bale has stated just how good he believes Rodon can become in the months and years ahead.

“It is great we have spent the past year having some good laughs,” Bale is quoted as saying by Wales Online.

“Ben and I have the experience of 2016 and Joe asks us all the time and he tells us what he was doing when he was watching and that he wanted to be part of a tournament and now he has a chance.

“He has come on leaps and bounds this season, made such a progression in his football, he has got better and better and looks like a real strong defender, sharp, and he is looking better and better.

“He will be one of the top defenders in the Premier League in years to come.

“This is another step in the right direction for him and something he wants to test himself with.

“I am sure he will do fantastically for us.”

On his own time at Tottenham, which brought 16 goals in 34 matches plus a final day brace at Leicester, Bale admitted that he was happy to end the campaign with goals and games.

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“It was great to finish off the season, the last few months, in goal scoring form. I knew that,” he said.

“I think a lot of people knew that. It was just game-time.

“Once I was given the opportunity to keep playing and get my actual Premier League fitness up it felt natural that my form would be back and I’d start scoring. No surprise to me, it just needed to happen.”

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