Pardew: “Brilliant Bale would walk into my world XI”
Newcastle United boss Alan Pardew
The Welsh wonder won the game for Tottenham with a terrific two-goal performance after reverting to his familiar role wide on the left.
Bale took a more central position against West Brom last weekend and was even being tipped to play as a striker here as the debate rumbled on about whether he is world-class or not.
But Pardew has no doubts about that — or what the star’s best position is.
The Newcastle boss said: “If you picked a world XI there is no doubt in my mind he would be in it and that he’d play left midfield.”
So there you have it. Quite where and how the likes Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo would fit in around him is anybody’s guess.
But what is clear is that Bale, 23, is now being classified in the same bracket as the game’s biggest superstars.
The best players are renowned for winning matches on their own with moments of brilliance.
Bale is currently Tottenham’s talisman. He won the game for them at The Hawthorns with a thunderbolt out of the blue.
And he did the same against Newcastle with a brilliant brace of almost his own making. His first was a trademark 25-yard free-kick that dipped viciously over the wall and bounced in after five minutes.
Then with the game heading for a draw after Yoan Gouffran’s 24th-minute leveller, Bale earned all three points with a breakaway winner 12 minutes from time.
The North Londoners can argue until they are blue in the face that they are not a one-man team. But Newcastle may well have got something from this game had it not been for Bale.
Disappointed Pardew admitted: “The way we look at teams and set up, we did a lot of work on trying to stop him.
“But he showed there are still going to be moments when he creates that space.
“It’s his technique with the hit that is the problem. He seems to be able to connect true whether he is on balance or off balance.
“That’s what makes him so difficult to play against.
“I’ve not been fortunate enough to work with him on a daily basis. But it’s amazing when you think of his career. He sat at Tottenham for two years almost doing nothing. He’s a great example to players that there is always time if the opportunity and confidence comes.”
Bale’s super show inevitably led to questions about how much longer Tottenham can keep him.
But boss Andre Villas-Boas is adamant Bale will stay if Spurs qualify for the Champions League and plans to use him to attract more stellar signings.
AVB said: “One player can be great in individual moments of brilliance and can help other players have those moments too. Gareth has that effect.”
Villas-Boas agrees with Pardew that Bale is one of the best footballers on the planet.
The Spurs boss said: “He’s on a par with the best players in the world for sure.
“I think he is one of the players that this season, through his goals, has really helped the team.
“The player is getting the best out his great individual season by scoring and obviously he has a great motivation and he is enjoying playing.
“Ronaldo plays more on the left coming in on his left foot, different to how he played for Manchester United.
“We’ve tried Gareth on the right a couple of times, I think through the middle gives him so much freedom.
“It doesn’t mean we will always stick with that position but I think he is such a good player that he is able to play in different roles and positions.”