Football - AVB enjoys Bale's rise to elite status

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.

PA Sport

Bale 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."

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