Ex-Saint Bale a double award winner

Daily Echo: Gareth Bale Gareth Bale

Newly-crowned PFA Player of the Year Gareth Bale dismissed talk of a summer transfer to Real Madrid as ''speculation''.

The former-Saints star picked up his second Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) Player of the Year Award last night.

And the 23-year-old Tottenham ace, who has scored 29 goals for club and country this term, also won the Young Player of the Year award, making him the first player since Cristiano Ronaldo to do the double at the prestigious awards night at the Grosvenor Hotel in central London.

''It's a massive honour,'' the Welshman said.

''To be voted by your peers is one of the biggest things in the game.

''It's great to win it and I am delighted.''

Ronaldo scooped both the young player and the main award in 2007, some 30 years after Andy Gray become the first professional to do so.

Bale won the senior award two seasons ago when he shot to fame with a series of scintillating displays domestically and in the Champions League.

Now he wants to take Spurs back in to Europe's biggest club competition, but his manager Andre Villas-Boas claims he may lose the player if they do not qualify for the Champions League.

Bale insists he is not paying any attention to those who claim he is bound for the Spanish capital, though.

He said: ''I just take no notice, it's all speculation, I can't do anything about it.

''I just concentrate on my football and play as well as I can and do my best for the team.''

Bale was one of two Spurs players included in the Team of the Year. Premier League top scorer Robin van Persie, who finished third in the running for the Player of the Year award, was one of four Manchester United players included in the best XI.

The night did not pass off with controversy. Luis Suarez's name was booed on two occasions when it was read out to the crowd, which comprised of footballers and guests.

Bale beat off competition from Luis Suarez, Robin van Persie, Juan Mata, Eden Hazard and Michael Carrick to win the senior gong for the 2012-13 season.

The Welshman also took home the Young Player of the Year award, making him only the third player in history to receive both prizes in the same season.

''It's a massive honour,'' the Welshman said.

''To be voted by your peers is one of the biggest things in the game. It's great to win it and I am delighted.''

Ronaldo scooped both the young player and the main award in 2007, some 30 years after Andy Gray become the first professional to do so.

Bale won the senior award two seasons ago when he shot to fame with a series of scintillating displays domestically and in the Champions League.

But he has gone on to become an even better player since, transforming himself in to a goal scoring machine that has found the net 29 times for club and country so far this season.

The Welshman, whose latest goal came yesterday in Tottenham's 2-2 draw at Wigan, dedicated the prize to his team-mates and manager Andre Villas-Boas.

''When you look at the list there are some massive names on it and the other nominees have been unbelievable this year, but I couldn't have done it without the team,'' Bale said.

''They have been fantastic this year and so has the manager.

''I couldn't have won it without them so I would like to give them all a big thank you as well.''

Bale had previously spent most of his career deployed on the left wing, but this term he has played more centrally, which he thinks is the reason why he has scored so many times.

''I have been shooting a lot more, and I have been coming inside a lot more too,'' he said.

''There are a few goals which I enjoyed. The one against Norwich was one of my favourites, and the West Ham one.

''Those two are my favourites from this season.

''I have a few less assists this year but I am in more scoring positions these days and that has obviously helped my scoring tally as we have seen this season.''

Bale's talents on the pitch are worthy of praise, and his attitude off it has also been complimented.

While Suarez, who was also on the Player of the Year shortlist, has got himself into trouble of late by biting Branislav Ivanovic's arm, PFA chief Gordon Taylor thinks Bale is a good role model to the youth of today.

He said: ''Everyone knows Suarez is a great footballer, I just wish at times he could fall in to line because footballers are role models and Gareth and Robin van Persie are really good examples for the younger generation.''

Taylor also is in no doubt about the talents Bale has displayed on the pitch this term.

''Gareth has had a tremendous season, he has had the same impact on Welsh football as Ryan Giggs did. He is part of the Southampton success story.''

The Merit award went to Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, the class of '92 and their coach at the time Eric Harrison.

Arsenal Ladies midfielder Kim Little won the inaugural Women's Player of the Year award.

Little, 22, has been a regular at Arsenal since she joined from Hibernian at the age of 16 and last summer was a part of the British Olympic team at London 2012.

This is the first time that the PFA have handed out a women's award as next year will be the first season that females are allowed to join the organisation.

Little was delighted to be involved in the occasion. The Scot said: ''It is a great night for me.

''For various years I have watched this event on television so to come here and win the first award is fantastic.

Comments (2)

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8:45am Mon 29 Apr 13

Seedhouse the Unrepentant says...

If only he'd been younger or we had been promoted earlier. Bale and Oxo in this team and talk of Champions League wouldn't be so far fetched.
If only he'd been younger or we had been promoted earlier. Bale and Oxo in this team and talk of Champions League wouldn't be so far fetched. Seedhouse the Unrepentant

8:46am Mon 29 Apr 13

OSPREYSAINT says...

Ex Saint, who went to Spurs and early doors was receiving the same sort of vilification that Rambo is getting now! At the start he couldn't get a win for them, and the Spurs supporters were giving him loads of grief, all came good in the end though.
Ex Saint, who went to Spurs and early doors was receiving the same sort of vilification that Rambo is getting now! At the start he couldn't get a win for them, and the Spurs supporters were giving him loads of grief, all came good in the end though. OSPREYSAINT

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