- Premier League
Villas-Boas: Bale can be the next Ronaldo
Andre Villas-Boas feels that Gareth Bale can replicate the career of Cristiano Ronaldo, and that becoming a forward like the Portuguese can accelerate that process.
Bale recently spoke of his admiration for Ronaldo, and continued his prolific scoring rate with a goal in his country's 2-1 win over Austria on Wednesday.
The 23-year-old has an average of a goal a game this season and, although that is still some way off Ronaldo's record, his club boss believes he isn't far away.
"Both of them are extremely technical players and extremely powerful and pacy," Villas-Boas said. "Obviously it is funny to see how in some ways both players compared growing up as a striker and move to wingers.
"Gareth started at left-back and moved to a winger position, now going to a more advanced role, and Ronaldo also able to play that rule up front.
"Obviously Ronaldo is now 28, has gone and achieved so much in his career. He is an example to what Gareth wants to achieve in his career too. Yes, you can see some similarities in between the positions."
Villas-Boas also admitted that Bale could again appear up front this weekend against Newcastle in the absence of Jermain Defoe - but may well benefit from having someone like Clint Dempsey or Emmanuel Adebayor alongside him.
"I think when we played him in preseason up front we played him alone. I think playing up front with somebody else can help his game too in terms of space that the other can create and then link up play.
"I think Gareth is such a phenomenal player that he is able to do that kind of role. He has been scoring a crazy amount of goals coming in from the right wing or through the middle, rather than from the left or assisting from the left, so it means a player can explore his full potential through the middle.
"After the Norwich game [which Spurs drew 1-1 thanks to a Bale goal], our test came from the change at half-time where we played him from the left and then put him up front with Defoe. After that, we decided to try it in the game against West Brom and it worked fine.
"I think the most important thing is to get the players feeling well about what they do for the team. And I think Gareth feels well in that position. If he's able to fulfil his full potential it's something we have to consider for the future. We know that he has grown out on the left. On the left he becomes a different type of player. I'm not sure if it limits his full potential.
"In the way we play we give him the freedom to change positions anyway. It's something that at least is having a positive impact on him."