- Premier League
Saints milestone an added bonus for Bale
Tottenham talisman Gareth Bale has expressed delight that his 200th game for the club could come against his former club Southampton on Saturday.
The newly crowned PFA Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year added the Football Writers' Association annual award to his collection earlier this week and now Bale is hoping the visit of Southampton to White Hart Lane will provide him with an ideal way to end a fairytale week in his career.
Having already scored against Southampton this season, Bale will take his Premier League tally past the 20-goal mark if he repeats the trick on Saturday, becoming the first Tottenham player to score 20 Premier League goals in a season since Jurgen Klinsmann in the 1994-95 campaign.
However, he has admitted his celebrations will be restrained if he achieves that milestone.
"I was (at Southampton) from the age of nine to 17, so it's a club close to my heart and I have a lot of friends still there," said Bale in an interview that will appear in the matchday programme for the Southampton fixture.
"I had wanted to go back to St Mary's for ages. I watched all the cup draws hoping we'd get them, so it was nice to finally get the chance to go back and to get on the scoresheet. My celebration was muted though and it would be again should I be fortunate enough to score.
"It was a big season for Southampton. I was hoping they would stay up and it looks like they are going to do that now. They have done very well this season and I hope that continues, apart from this game, of course.
"It's great to get games under your belt and for my 200th appearance to hopefully come against Southampton, that makes it all the more special."
Bale has urged his team-mates to retain their focus in the final four games of their Premier League campaign, safe in the knowledge that a quartet of victories will guarantee a top four finish a return to the Champions League.
"The most important thing for us is to just concentrate on ourselves, no matter who the opposition is," added Bale. "We need to win to keep ourselves in contention for that top four spot."