In an exclusive interview with Football FanCast, former Manchester City centre-back Steve Howey has delivered his verdict on Gareth Bale’s ongoing struggles at Tottenham Hotspur, saying that they could well be annoying manager Jose Mourinho.
The Wales international, who is currently on loan from Real Madrid, missed Wednesday’s 5-4 FA Cup defeat at Everton despite posting on Instagram that he had enjoyed a “good session” on Tuesday, which prompted criticism from Mourinho.
The Tottenham boss responded by saying the social media post was a “contradiction” with reality.
Having been a manager before becoming a pundit, Howey sympathised with Mourinho’s response as he prepares for the trip to Wolfsberger in the Europa League.
Spurs have now lost four of their past five fixtures in all competitions after they were beaten by Premier League leaders Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday – with Bale once again a notable absentee.
When asked to give his thoughts on their poor run of form, Howey exclusively told Football FanCast editor James Beavis:
“I think they’re struggling massively defensively. I think he sort of said in his interview, you know, offensively, they’ve been very, very good.
“I mean, look, ultimately you go all the way to Everton, you score four goals, and you’re still getting beat. You know, that tells you you’ve got problems at the back. So he’s got issues there that he has to sort out.
“And obviously, he’s got the issue with Bale because, you know, he trained and put up posts on social media that he felt good and then Jose finds out through his staff that he’s not ready to play because he wants a scan and he’s probably thinking, right, okay…
“You know your body, you know what you can get away with and you know what you can’t. I think I can count on one hand, in 16 years, when I played professional football, the times I was 100% fit.
“Now whether he’s just being really cautious because obviously he’s gone back to Tottenham and he hasn’t exactly set it alight, let’s be honest, who knows. Whether he feels ‘I’m not quite sure, let me sit this one out, I’ll miss one game and then I’ll be ready.’ If that’s the case, then that’s probably a good move from Bale’s point of view.
“But if it’s not, you can imagine the manager getting very, very frustrated with how this has come about, especially when they’re losing games as well.”
Howey clearly feels that the blame can’t solely be laid at Mourinho’s door and that Bale has to share some of the responsibility as well.
It’s fair to say that the 31-year-old is really struggling to make a mark during his second spell at the club, with the Welshman having started just two Premier League games since the start of this season.
Bale has made 16 appearances across all competitions this season with four goals to show for his 10 starts.
However, with time running out and Mourinho’s patience reportedly starting to wear thin, it is looking more and more likely that the right-winger will return to his parent club Real Madrid at the end of the campaign instead of sealing a permanent move to Spurs.
AND in other Spurs news, Erik Lamela let Spurs down vs Man City…