Anyone who watched Gareth Bale destroy Internazionale over the last couple of weeks may think a new star has entered the world stage. But if you saw him ten months ago, you know the praise is long overdue.
The Welshman has dazzled on Spurs’ left wing since the beginning of 2010. His pacy, probing runs have created more than 20 unfinished chances in the Premier League this season according to the Opta stats, the highest for any player at any club.
In the first game of the season against mega bucks Manchester City, Bale gave an indication of his class with a strike that hit the post. However, he demonstrated signs of his class before that.
Before tearing arguably the world’s best right back, Maicon, to pieces, the former Southampton trainee had already shown his quality with winning strikes against London rivals Arsenal and Chelsea as Tottenham homed in on fourth spot and a place in this year's Champions League.
His doubters point to some indifferent displays against more mediocre opponents, but Bale’s ability to perform in the big matches should be applauded when modern day Goliaths too often only perform against diminutive Davids.
Even the best players have less productive days, and when teams do double up on Bale it allows the likes of Modric, van der Vaart and Lennon more space to wreak havoc.
Capable of blistering and powerful pace, determined dribbling and a clinical final ball, Bale has all the abilities to reach, especially given his age of only 21. If he continues to progress, Bale could become the best footballer in Europe. The sky really is the limit.
His shy, almost timid demeanour in front of the cameras makes him even more endearing to the neutral fan, especially when the media portrays footballers as soulless, money grabbing machines.
Some may say he is inconsistent and struggles against more disciplined opponents. They should observe more Tottenham games because Bale has only just begun to show off his skills.
Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.