Andre Villas-Boas thinks a meeting that he held with Gareth Bale earlier this season may have been the spark that ignited the Tottenham forward’s devastating campaign.
Bale last night picked up the 2012-13 Footballer of the Year award at the Football Writers’ Association’s dinner in central London.
Just 11 days before, the Tottenham forward became only the third man in history to win PFA Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year for the same season.
After a season which has seen him bag a total of 30 goals for club and country, it is hard to imagine Bale having experienced any doubt about his abilities this year, but Tottenham’s manager revealed last night that the player had sounded him out after a period where he felt he was not enjoying his football enough.
Speaking on stage at the Lancaster London hotel last night, Villas-Boas said: “I had Gareth knocking on my door once, not crying, but he was complaining a little bit. He said he wanted me to help him to enjoy his football a little more.
“We had a good conversation. Hopefully it turned out well for both of us. From that moment onwards his drive, his passion and his ambition towards the height of elite football has been immense and it shows through the great season he has had.”
Bale claimed 53 percent of the FWA vote from Britain’s football writers, pushing Manchester United marksman Robin van Persie in to second.
The FWA award has been running since 1948, when Sir Stanley Matthews was the first recipient of a long list which includes the likes of England World Cup winning captain Bobby Moore, the Charlton brothers and George Best through Kevin Keegan, Eric Cantona, Dennis Bergkamp, Thierry Henry and Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Welshman now hopes to round off his season by leading Spurs back in to the Champions League.
Wednesday’s 2-2 draw against Chelsea leaves Villas-Boas’ side one point off Champions League qualification with two matches left, but Bale is sure that he and his team-mates can edge Arsenal or Chelsea out of the top four by the end of the season.
The 23-year-old said: “When I first moved to the club six years ago, they showed me the plan for the club and it has obviously been a progression since then.
“The whole club wants to move in the right direction. We all want Champions League football, that’s our target and it is something we can still do.”