Gareth Bale has given Tottenham Hotspur a “little flashback” of what he can still do after scoring against Southampton in Ryan Mason’s first game in charge.
That’s the verdict of former Manchester United striker Dion Dublin, who was full of praise for Bale’s contribution as Spurs came from behind to beat Southampton at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last night.
Bale netted the equaliser for Spurs on the hour mark after Danny Ings had given Southampton a deserved first half lead, before Son Heung-min’s late penalty sealed all three points for the hosts in injury time.
The win, in Mason’s first game as interim head coach, moved Spurs to within two points of Chelsea and West Ham United, who meet on Saturday as the battle for the Premier League top-four continues.
And Dublin believes Bale showed what he can do and how important he could be for Mason and Tottenham between now and the end of the season.
“There was a little flashback to what we know he can do, and what he did in his first spell at Spurs,” Dublin said, speaking on BBC programme Match of the Day.
“He had only played 11 minutes in the last four Premier League games, but we have seen here exactly what he can do.
“In that second half, he decided to make a change and to stand up and be counted, he was finding good positions and he likes to get his shots off.
“It makes a difference and this was so calm and collected. If you wanted the ball to any player in a Spurs shirt in that position, it would be Harry Kane, but without him, it would be Gareth Bale.
Mason knows all about what Bale is capable of, having seen him at Tottenham in his first spell before moving to Real Madrid, and he too was full of praise for the Welshman after the game.
“Gareth is an exceptional player who has had an excellent career,” he said.
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“When you don’t have Harry Kane in the team you need someone who can produce moments like that in the final third.
“The quality of the finish was absolutely outstanding.”
Bale could now feature for Spurs again in the Carabao Cup final on Sunday against Manchester City, with Kane an injury doubt for the game at Wembley.