A few years ago a 17 year old Bale was plying his trade in the championship for Southampton playing at left back. He earned constant praise for his performances as well as his goals (mainly from set-pieces) which led to interest from Tottenham who eventually signed the player.

However at Spurs, Gareth found it difficult to adapt to the challenges of the premiership and found himself on the outskirts of the first team. Despite his tender age Gareth believed in himself and his ability and instead of sulking increased his work-rate on the training pitch. In addition he adhered to advice given to him by manager Harry Redknapp.

In January '09 Ekotto (the 1st choice left back) got injured and Bale had his chance to prove he was good enough to start in the team. He grasped it with both hands and has since not looked back. He continues to go from strength to strength and is a shadow of the player who was almost sent out on loan to Nottingham Forest and deemed surplus to requirements.

Since taking his place in the starting 11 Gareth has improved on several areas which have given him the ability to constantly perform. One of his greatest attributes is his ability to run all day with and without the ball. From the first minute to the last minute he continues to make runs up and down the left wing tracking back to defend when required. In addition to his excellent stamina he has speed and acceleration to burn enabling him to quickly pass player in a heartbeat.

However having these attributes is pointless unless you can do something with the ball, and Bale can he is able to pass, cross or shoot. The clip below shows him this year against Inter Milan where he scored a hat-trick and made one of the best right backs in the world look like he played Sunday League Football.