• Premier League

AVB admits to Bale gamble

ESPN staff
July 25, 2012
Gareth Bale is behind schedule in his pre-season programme on account of injury © Getty Images

Andre Villas-Boas has admitted to taking a risk on Gareth Bale's fitness in order to get the winger ready for the start of the season with Tottenham.

Bale made a surprise appearance in Tottenham's pre-season friendly with LA Galaxy on Monday, as he had been ruled out of the Team GB squad on account of a back injury. The Olympic football competition begins on Thursday, but Bale is with his club in North America and he scored in the 1-1 draw with the Galaxy.

He is a key figure for Spurs and Villas-Boas is eager to have him at full tilt for the season opener with Newcastle on August 18.

"Gareth is young and physically a beast, so he was able to put in the effort," Villas-Boas said. "We extended that as we want him to complete a certain amount of minutes before we start the season.

"You can say we took a risk. If you recall, 10 minutes into the game he was stretching himself so he was feeling some muscle tightness. But it was controllable and we just let him run. We welcome his recovery, which is the most important thing for me."

Villas-Boas also played down concerns over Kyle Walker and Rafael van der Vaart, with the Tottenham boss expecting the pair to be back in the fold by the end of the week.

"I think we are looking for three or four days for both," he said. "Reassessment is important and I would not like to say without that knowledge, but Van der Vaart felt during the week tightness in his adductor and Kyle twisted his ankle slightly but both should be back in three or four days."

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