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Tottenham fans will give a thumbs-u to what Ryan Mason says about Gareth Bale ahead of Man City cup final

Interim Spurs coach Ryan Mason hailed Gareth Bale as ‘world-class’ in his pre-match press conference ahead of Sunday’s Carabao Cup final against Manchester City at Wembley as he reckons reckons that Bale is still the same player he was in the final third five or six years ago.

Bobbing in and out of the first XI team under Jose Mourinho following his return to Spurs on a season-long loan deal in September, the Welshman returned to the XI on Wednesday night in the refreshing 2-1 win against Southampton.

Although a tad quiet in the opening period as Saints initially dominated proceedings, the 31-year-old ramped up with an important goal on the hour mark to restore parity and gave the Lilywhites hope, from which they eventually won the game with help from Son Heung-min’s late penalty.

Albeit no longer the player he was at the peak of his powers following his move from Tottenham to Real Madrid in 2013 agter succumbing to various injuries, Mason has nonetheless hailed his former teammate’s current prowess and has claimed that he still has the quality despite the naysayers doubting him.

“In terms of fitness wise he [Bale] is fine and the group are absolutely fine,” he said in pre-match conference. “I think we saw that the other day.

“If they weren’t fit then we wouldn’t have been able to keep going like that at the end and keep being on the front foot and believing if they had any doubts mentally then surely that’s absolutely gone now because to score late on says that not only physically you’re fit but mentally you can compete for 95-96 minutes as well.

“In terms of Gareth as the individual, I think he’s shown this year that Gareth in the final third is still Gareth of five or six years ago.

“You don’t lose that instinct, that ability to arrive in the key moment and the selection of the finish.

“The finish the other night was absolutely world class and he keeps proving that if you give him those opportunities he’s a player that we want in that area.”

Each time Bale was given a chance by Mourinho in the team in February he did hit the headlines with brilliant doubles against Burnley and Crystal Palace and now all Tottenham fans will be hoping the same will happen again, with Mason confident that the ex-Southampton man will continue to find the net as he is a world-class player.

“I think any player, regardless of who you are and what you’ve achieved in the game, you need to play with confidence and also with that freedom of being able to act instinctively,” he added.

“What we saw from Gareth is something we’ve seen for many years and we’ve seen it this season as well, that when Gareth is in the final third and he gets moments and opportunities then you back him to take them.

“Also what we have is competition. We have people pushing and people who believe and are confident in themselves.

“There are some decisions to make, some tough decisions to make and the game plan and how we want to approach it will dictate who plays and in what condition players are in.

“Gareth is a world-class player. He still is, regardless of his age and regardless of many different things. He hasn’t lost and won’t lose that ability to find the back of the net.”

Credit: Football Tribe Malaysia