Gareth Bale has not travelled to Italy for the first leg of Tottenham's Champions League second round game with AC Milan.

Spurs manager Harry Redknapp ruled the Wales winger out of the match after Saturday's win at Sunderland, before appearing to backtrack by hinting he could play some part in the clash after making progress in his recovery from his back injury.

But any hope the 21-year-old would be able to repeat last year's hat-trick heroics against Inter in the San Siro were dashed when he was left at home to continue his recovery.

There was better news for Spurs in the recovery of their other key players, however.

Luka Modric, who had an operation to remove his appendix a fortnight ago, has flown with the squad, despite Redknapp's declaration this weekend that the Croatian was a serious doubt for the game at the San Siro.

Peter Crouch and Rafael van der Vaart have been struggling with back and calf injuries respectively, but they have both made the journey.


 

Modric is arguably the most important player that Redknapp will want to see passed fit as he currently only has two central midfielders - Sandro and Wilson Palacios - with Jermaine Jenas suspended and Tom Huddlestone out with an ankle problem.

Bale's absence is a big blow to the Londoners given that he set the world alight on his last performance at the San Siro in October.

The former Southampton man almost pulled off a one-man rescue mission with a second-half hat-trick after Spurs had gone in 4-0 down at half-time with only 10 men.

He then went on to run rings around Brazil right-back Maicon in the reverse fixture as Spurs beat the holders 3-1 the following month.

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Gareth Bale