Once regarded as the curse of Tottenham Hotspur, Gareth Bale is now the man on everybody’s lips, according to Tim Hart
The £5m Tottenham spent on the 21-year-old in 2007 looks like a bargain as Bale’s value has risen to £30m.
He’s now even being lauded as the best player in the world on current form and Spurs had to offer him a new four-year contract worth £10m in the summer to keep hold of him.
And to think just a year ago Bale was close to leaving North London for just £3m.
What has changed in the last 12 months to see such a transformation?
The simple answer is determination, maturity and modesty.
Bale has worked so hard on developing his game and it has paid off.
Another youngster to break on to the scene in the Premier League this season is Manchester United’s Javier Hernandez and his success is put down to the same holy trinity; hard work, determination and maturity.
Hernandez’s manager Sir Alex Ferguson and his club captain Gary Neville can’t praise the Mexican enough.
If only more players had the same mentality we would not see as much potential world-class talent wasted.
Bale is inevitably going to be compared to his compatriot Ryan Giggs as both are left-footed wingers with boundless energy.
What Bale will share in common with Giggs is the expectation of a nation. The former Southampton youngster will have the burden of trying to lead Wales to a major international competition for the next decade or so.
To use the cliché “with great power comes great responsibility”, nothing could be truer for Bale but that also means he’ll be raking the money in.
Publicist Max Clifford believes the 21-year-old could make up to £20m in endorsements and image rights over the next five years.
Clifford said: “He’s young, he’s British, he’s a nice-looking lad, he’s got a lovely attitude.
“With Harry Redknapp keeping a very careful eye on him, he could make £10million, £20million, something like that, over the next five years from image rights, endorsements, things like that.
And Clifford also believes modesty is important to Bale’s success on and off the field.
Clifford added: “My advice would be to stay close to Harry, listen to what he tells him and keep his feet on the ground. Ability and talent is great and is much appreciated but humility and modesty is something that the British public love.
Bale’s former PE teacher Gwyn Morris agrees with Clifford.
When Bale was just 16 years old Mr Morris said: “Gareth has a fierce determination to succeed and has the character and qualities to achieve his personal goals. He is one of the most unselfish individuals that I have had the pleasure to help educate.”
Bale’s rise to prominence is down to those three qualities; determination, maturity and modesty. It’s a winning formula that will take him from being the curse of Tottenham to being one of the best in the world.