• Premier League

Martinez: Move to Spain would hinder Bale

ESPN staff
November 3, 2012
Gareth Bale continues to terrorise opposition defences © PA Photos

Wigan boss Roberto Martinez has advised Gareth Bale not to complete a move to Spain, insisting he would not be as effective as he is in the Premier League.

Bale, 23, has attracted interest from Barcelona and Real Madrid following standout performances for club and country over the past two years.

But Martinez believes a move to La Liga would stunt Bale's career, suggesting there would be limited playing time and a drastic change to his usual style.

"A real compliment for him is people are talking about him signing for Real Madrid and Barcelona," Martinez said. "Only a handful of players around the world carry that status and he is one.

"Look at his two performances for Wales against Scotland and Croatia and you could see he was a step ahead of the other 21 players on the pitch. That is quite a statement.

"But it's hard to tell whether a move to Spain would help him improve. Sometimes going to a club we consider as bigger will be healthy. But if you take on a lesser role instead of being the main man it doesn't work.

"It's different if you are one of five or six key men, because maybe the team won't play to your strengths. Certain players enjoy that responsibility of being the main man, and it can be difficult to have the same impact in a team that has three or four other world-class stars.

"Gareth is in a top team, and the way they rely on him is bringing the best out of him."

Wigan face Tottenham at White Hart Lane on Saturday and after heaping praise on Bale, Martinez will turn his focus to stopping the winger.

"His biggest strength is that he can somehow change pace while he is sprinting," he said. "He can actually accelerate further, and that takes him away from defenders with ease.

"He's unique in that respect. It's what makes him so special, what lifts him to world-class. You have to try to stop the service to those players, because you can never really stop them playing. They are the players who make a difference.

"What we need to do is make sure his effect is not as important as the effect we have on the game as a team. We must be aware of him and share the responsibility of handling Bale. We will have to be at our best, but we have done it before. We know how to win at White Hart Lane."

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