Gareth Bale has been passed fit for Tottenham Hotspur’s crucial game against Manchester City on Sunday and nominated for both the PFA Player and Young Player of the Year awards.
Bale turned his ankle against Basel in their Europa League quarter-final first leg on 4 April but the injury was not as serious as it looked and the Wales international has made a speedy recovery after missing two games.
“Gazza [Bale] has been training for the last two days with the team and on his own since the beginning of the week,” Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas said yesterday. Asked if Bale would start the game against second-placed City, Villas-Boas said: “This is a decision I have to make.”
Forward Jermain Defoe has also recovered in time for the game and Aaron Lennon has a chance of being involved against City as Spurs bid for a top-four spot and Champions League football next season.
Bale has been in outstanding form for club and country and was nominated for both PFA awards along with Chelsea’s Eden Hazard. They are joined on the shortlist for the Player of they Year award by Liverpool striker Luis Suarez, Manchester United’s Robin van Persie and Michael Carrick, and Hazard’s Chelsea team-mate Juan Mata.
The list for the Young Player of the Year is completed by Aston Villa’s Christian Benteke, West Bromwich’s loanee Romelu Lukaku, Danny Welbeck of Manchester United and Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere.
On Bale’s double nomination, Villas-Boas said: “Gazza has had an outstanding year, along with other players. I think we’ve seen a great season by Van Persie, a great season by Luis Suarez, a great season from Bale. I think Bale’s in with a big, big chance for what he has produced this season, we’ve seen some spectacular moments. His maturity and responsibility is outstanding so it’s good to see.”
Villas-Boas thought that one of the players due to line up against his Spurs side tomorrow should have received a nomination.
“I’m surprised that [City defender Matija] Nastasic hasn’t made it for the Young Player of the Year award because he’s a player that has been outstanding for City. He had a great season for his first year coming into the Premier League.”
Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert said he was happy Benteke had made the list and hoped the striker didn’t forget his manager in the future.
“The game’s never about myself, it’s about the players. But it gives me great satisfaction to see the lads perform, doing great for themselves and making massive careers for themselves. Once we’ve got them into the door it’s up to them.
“Whatever happens to Christian, I just hope when I get to 65 he doesn’t forget if I want a ticket to a game! But it’s not about me, it’s about the team.”