David Ginola has spoken out in support of Gareth Bale as he comes under scrutiny for diving having been booked for simulation in two successive matches last week. Tottenham manager, Andre Villas-Boas has also shown support for Bale who will be out with a hamstring injury for the next two weeks.
Last week was a good seven days for Tottenham with three consecutive wins over West Ham, Liverpool and Fulham. The only disappointment, apart from Bale’s injury on Saturday, was the two bookings Bale received for diving in the games against Liverpool and Fulham. In both cases, the referee adjudged Bale to have dived but in both instances, the defender made contact with Bale who was rather theatrical in his fall which probably played a part in the referee misreading the situation.
Villas-Boas acknowledged the frustration that Bale feels about the issue. He has been booked for diving on four occasions in the past sixteen months and the two booking last week now have him on four yellow cards for the season, one away from a one match suspension. On Saturday, at Fulham, Bale showed his annoyance by sarcastically clapping referee, Chris Foy, which could have led to him being shown another yellow card and being sent off.
His manager defended Bale by pointing out that Bale has previously suffered serious ankle injury and is trying to take evasive action to protect himself.
“I think he uses it as a precaution from different types of challenges. I’m not saying all of the players that challenge Gareth are malicious but the action is so quick that it might look like it’s not a foul while it is.”
In every match Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon are subjected to a number of heavy challenges as defenders try to stop then breaking at speed towards their opponents penalty area. It is a regular feature of Tottenham games to see both players, at some point in the game, being brought down heavily. Bale attacks defenders at such speed that the slightest touch is going to knock him off balance but referees overlook this factor and so Bale is becoming the target of the media, defenders and supporters as they label him a ‘diver’.
Today, a former Tottenham player who also had to cope with accusations of diving has spoken in support of Gareth Bale. David Ginola who played 124 League and Cup games for Spurs after signing from Newcastle United in 1997, was often the only light at Tottenham at the end of the 1990s. His three seasons were a mediocre period in Tottenham history and it was often only the intervention of Ginola on the wing which enlivened a game. His dazzling runs and outstanding goals were cherished by every Tottenham supporter.
Speaking, from experience, in an interview with BBC Radio Wales, Ginola defended Bale and called for referees to give greater protection to skilful players. Ginola was annoyed at the accusations against Bale and praised him for his flair and style of play.
“The kid is doing so well. He shouldn’t carry this on his shoulder. I don’t understand why we put pressure on him with false ideas. It’s unfair.”
He pointed out that Bale’s pace was often the cause of him going down.
“You don’t need a big tackle to go down. A little push would be enough to lose the balance.”
A great entertainer himself, on the football pitch, Ginola sees similarities with himself in Bale’s play and calls for protection for gifted players.
“Football is about entertainment. When you have players like that who entertain you week in, week out, you have to protect that. It’s so precious.”
Tottenham will have to do without Bale over the next fortnight as he recovers from injury so, perhaps, the break will allow the media attention to subside and move on to some other area of controversy. Ginola was fulsome in his praise of Bale who has been encouraged by his former Tottenham team-mate, Luka Modric, to leave White Hart Lane and join him at Real Madrid. Ginola, however, wants to see Bale remain at Spurs and help them develop and progress into a team which can have success in the Champions League.
“He is the complete player and still very young. He has got everything. He is going to be a huge asset for the world of football in the next few years.”
Ginola fully supported Bale and doesn’t want to see him leave Tottenham, stating that clubs don’t sell their best players, they want to keep them. Every Tottenham supporter will be in total agreement with Ginola who is still a firm favourite among fans at White Hart Lane.