Gareth Bale is a changed player from first Tottenham spell and may not warrant starting place in Mourinho's team

SEVEN long years since he last started a game for Tottenham, Gareth Bale was back in the side for the first time – but don’t expect him to be there at Burnley on Monday.

World class talent or not, Jose Mourinho knows he will be taking a big risk naming the Welshman from the off at Turf Moor on the evidence of this display.


Don’t be blinded by the assist for the second goal. His manager won’t when it comes to analysing things and planning for future matches.

For the former Real Madrid star is clearly not the barnstorming running threat of old, and that represents a problem for Mourinho when it comes to putting together a side to get back to winning ways in the Premier League.

Let’s be clear from the start, Bale is still a terrific player with plenty to offer, but his lack of true match sharpness means he might not be the perfect fit for his manager right now.

Bale, you see, now likes to drop into pockets of space and cause damage with his passing and guile rather than blistering pace and in most sides that would be great.

But there is already a certain Harry Kane who does that for Spurs with devastating effect, and Mourinho needs to figure out if he can afford two players who operate in the same way.

Part of Tottenham’s threat is when Kane finds space and links up with his runners, usually Son Heung-min, Lucas Moura or Steven Bergwijn.

Bale showed little willingness against LASK to suggest he would be making those lung-busting runs on a regular basis, not through lack of commitment but because that is not his game any more.

Many of his best moments were linking up with the overlapping Matt Doherty as the £650,000-a-week man showed he is now more of a playmaker than surging threat.

So when it comes to going forward, Mourinho has to work out if a three of Kane, Son and Bale would actually be well balanced.

Son will hit the spaces down the inside left, but Bale might not be so potent on the opposite side.

There is another issue at the moment on the evidence of this display – whether Bale has the legs to be able to dig in and do the defensive work his manager needs.

Several times when moves broke down and LASK moved forward, Bale was just chugging back yards off the pace leaving wide open spaces in front of Doherty.

It mattered not against the Austrians, but when it comes to Burnley on Monday that means their most dangerous player Dwight McNeill might have the freedom to attack down that wing.

Left-back Charlie Taylor also likes to join up with McNeill, and if Bale isn’t able to recover his ground then all of a sudden Spurs might have a problem – and you can bet Sean Dyche will have noticed.

Bergwijn or Moura offer more on the defensive side as Bale tries to recover the fitness in his legs to be able to do the donkey work as well as the eye catching stuff.

And for Mourinho, that may well mean the man from Madrid is back on the bench come Monday.

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