The story of Gareth Bale’s rise at Tottenham is now a familiar one.
The Welshman was almost sold to Nottingham Forest having failed to live up to the potential he showed as a youngster at Southampton.
Fast forward a few years, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Nearly sold to Nottingham Forest for a handful of million pounds, the man who would go on to be the world’s most expensive player had Harry Redknapp to thank for transforming him into an attacking talent.
While still playing at left-back, he was dubbed ‘Bad Luck Bale’ by many of the White Hart Lane faithful for the simple reason that statistically, Spurs never won when he played.
However, Clive Allen, part of the coaching set-up at Spurs under Redknapp has admitted that the then-manager had his hand forced by the youngster’s struggles in defence.
Speaking at a Grosvenor Casinos event alongside fellow club legend Darren Anderton, Allen said:
“We couldn’t win a game when he played – Harry got that in his head, he was mad about it.
“‘We’ve got to be winning 3-0 so I can put him on,’ he’d say.
“Harry just said, he can’t defend, and he didn’t, he didn’t want to defend. He said ‘I can’t play him left-back’. And it was almost forced upon him to play him a bit further forward.
“He played in a few reserve games, and we played him a bit higher up on the left and he cruised through it.”
Allen and Anderton were in attendance to watch Spurs beat Southampton 2-1, a result which moved them two points clear of third-placed Manchester City.