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Harry Redknapp has rejected suggestions that Gareth Bale has lost his appetite for football and does not care how his loan spell at Tottenham plays out, with Jose Mourinho urged to do his “job” and bring the best out of themisfiring forward.
Bale was, after a couple of unhappy seasons at Real Madrid, expected to rediscover his spark back in familiar surroundings.
A loan switch to the Premier League has not played out as planned, with niggling fitness issues holding the proven performer back, and Mourinho has appeared reluctant to hand out the game time required to recover full match sharpness.
That has led to questions being asked of Bale’s ability and attitude after slipping from a standing at the very top of the global game, but Redknapp believes a player that once thrived under his tutelage merely needs the right man-management in order to start firing once more.
The former Spurs boss has told talkSPORT: “People say to me that he looks like he isn’t interested or he doesn’t care. If he didn’t care, he would have stayed at Real Madrid earning the same money. He has come here because he wants to play and prove himself again.
“He’s not the most confident boy in the world. Even though he was up there among the top five players in the world in the time he was at Tottenham and went to Real Madrid, you have got to make him feel like he is the main man. You have got to give him confidence.
“You have got to find a way – that is a manager’s job now – to unlock that talent and get him going again because I’m sure it is still in there, it just needs bringing out. Bringing him on, taking him off, little cameos here and there – let him play and give him a run.
“Dele Alli, why not get him back on board? The kid was one of the best players in the country a couple of years ago and we have to find a way to get him playing again.
“Don’t just discard people. That’s your job, to make them feel important and as though they have something to offer.”
Mourinho has come in for criticism again over recent weeks, with Spurs – who have lost talismanic striker Harry Kane to an untimely injury – winning just one of their last four Premier League fixtures.
They have slipped to sixth in the table as a result, 11 points adrift of leaders Manchester City, and Redknapp believes anything less than Champions League qualification will be considered a failure for such an ambitious club.
He added: “Anything other than a top-four finish for Tottenham will, in the eyes of the owners, be a disaster. I think with their squad, with what they have got, anything outside of the top four is a disaster.