Peter Crouch has recalled Gareth Bale’s ‘spectacular transition’ into a Premier League ‘galactico’ during their time together at Tottenham.
Crouch played alongside Bale for two seasons at the north London side and was witness to his meteoric rise in English football, the Welsh winger developing into one of the finest players in the Premier League before leaving for Real Madrid in a deal that made him the most expensive player in history.
Bale was twice named as PFA Player of the Year and his final season at Spurs is amongst the most memorable in the division’s history, winning a clean sweep of individual honours to attract interest from the Bernabeu.
Crouch has now discussed Bale’s ascent from promising prodigy at Southampton to global star, admitting Bale’s rise is the most impressive development he ever saw from a player throughout his playing career.
“When I was at Southampton there was a buzz about two kids at the Academy — Theo Walcott and Gareth Bale. We heard all sorts of positive reports and I knew there was interest from Liverpool about signing Gareth in the summer of 2007,” Crouch said in a Q&A column in the Mail.
Happy birthday, @GarethBale11! 🎉
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) July 16, 2017
“Our paths did not cross for another couple of years, until we were together at Tottenham. The young lad I saw initially had some confidence issues and had not enjoyed playing at left back. The talk was that he was going to go to Nottingham Forest for £2million.
“Then, though, he started to find his feet. He got faster, stronger. His confidence began to grow and gradually all those special things we had been told about when he was a kid started to come true.
“The night that did it for me with him was when he scored a hat-trick in the San Siro.
“Maicon, the Inter Milan right back, looked like he had been traumatised by the way Gaz kept running at him relentlessly. He tore him to shreds and it was proof that we had a galactico in our midst. You couldn’t wish to see a more spectacular transition.”