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Bale gets monkey off his back

Harry Redknapp allowed full-back Gareth Bale to get the proverbial monkey off his back last Saturday as Tottenham brushed Burnley aside 5-0.

Bale finally tasted his first victory in a Premier League match – at the 25th time of asking after Redknapp brought Bale on in the 86th-minute for Aaron Lennon against the Clarets.

The 19-year-old Welsh star joined Spurs more than two years ago from Southampton but was not involved in a league win until the weekend, but his wait for a top-flight victory after starting a game continues.

Late strikes by Fulham and Liverpool in 2008 denied him a league success, then a foot injury in a defeat to Birmingham ruled the teenager out for the remainder of that campaign.

Last term saw Spurs fail to win in the league until Harry Redknapp’s appointment as manager, with Benoit Assou-Ekotto then preferred as his first-choice left-back.

Bale has been in and out of the squad since arriving in 2007 in a deal worth £10million and he will be delighted to brush off a bizarre statistic.

After missing pre-season and the start of the 09/10 PremierLeague campaign with a torn knee ligament, Bale returned for the midweek win over Preston in the Carling Cup.

“That’s why I put him on,” Redknapp said. “I thought we needed to break that hoodoo. It’s affected him, I think, but he played well in the Carling Cup match before.

“He’s a left-back really and he could be a top player.”

Fri 2 October, 2009
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