Tottenham bring in referee to help Gareth Bale lose ‘diver’ tag


Gareth Bale’s reputation for diving led to referee Andre Marriner visiting Tottenham Hotspur’s training ground last week.

Marriner spoke to Bale and his manager Andre Villas-Boas three days after Tottenham’s win at Fulham, in which Bale was booked for simulation.

It was Bale’s fourth such yellow card in the last two seasons, but Villas-Boas believes there is an unfair perception of the Welshman. “We received the visit of the referee this past week,” Villas-Boas revealed yesterday. “[It was] just a consequence of what happened in the game against Fulham. It came naturally. It was not a big agenda. But it generated a useful conversation where Gareth explained his points of view and the referee explained theirs.”

Premier League clubs tend to be visited by referees once or twice per season as a matter of routine.

Bale was booked against Fulham after being tripped by Steve Sidwell; three days earlier, he had been similarly booked after a challenge from Liverpool’s Daniel Agger. Villas-Boas believes that Bale is wrongly thought to be a diver. “Whatever reputation he gains he does not try to do it. It is a tag that, if he has gained, it is unfair,” the manager said.

Bale has been badly injured by tackles in the past and is understandably keen to avoid the same thing happening again. “Gareth has gone through a difficult time in his career,” Villas-Boas added. “He has had potentially career-threatening injuries and sometimes for the pace that he goes at it looks like a dive from the player when he is actually protecting himself. He told me that.”

Bale is unlikely to be risked against Swansea City tomorrow as he recovers from a hamstring injury. The Swansea manager and former Barcelona and Real Madrid midfielder Michael Laudrup said yesterday that he thought Bale could struggle if he were to move to one of La Liga’s two giants – as has been suggested.

“It is a completely different type of football,” said Laudrup. “If you play in Barcelona or Real Madrid, you don’t play on the full pitch, you play in the last 20 to 25 metres of the pitch. If you have seen some Barcelona games, they play 19 players in nothing, so you don’t have space. You can’t run.

“If he does go to Spain and play for one of the top two teams there, then that part of his play would be very difficult. It will be a different way of football, but if you have quality I think you will always adapt.”

The Spurs centre-half Steven Caulker is set to face the club he played for last season on loan despite a difficult week in which he received a two-game ban for his role in the fracas between England and Serbia Under-21 players and officials after October’s game in Krusevac.

“He has been amazing, for his age and for the way he made the step up from Swansea to Tottenham and the way he has been doing so well and playing so much,” Villas-Boas said. “He is a major player. The last couple of days will not really affect it. Although he is young he is mature enough to differentiate the things.”

Scott Parker, who has not played all season due to an Achilles injury, could well be back on the bench tomorrow. “He’s been out for so long and he’s such an important player for us,” Villas-Boas said. “He’s been decisive last season. We’ve been really patient with the situation. We’re glad to have him back; it was wonderful to see him out there on the pitch. Certainly he offers other possibilities. He can be a major influence,  offensively and defensively. It’s good to have him on our side and good to finally count on him.”

Michael Dawson could return to the Tottenham side but Benoît  Assou-Ekotto is unlikely to make the squad yet after a knee injury.

house + home
Arts and Entertainment
tvGame of Thrones season 5 ep 4, review - WARNING: contains major spoiliers!
Life and Style
Bats detect and react to wind speed and direction through sensors on their wings
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg and David Cameron appeal to the audience during the Question Time special
Danny Jones was in the Wales squad for the 2013 World Cup
rugby leagueKeighley Cougars half-back was taken off after just four minutes
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThirty years on, the ZX Spectrum is back, after a fashion
Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn are breaking up after nearly three years together
peopleFormer couple announce separation in posts on their websites
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living