Gareth Bale has played barely a quarter of the available game-time since his return to Tottenham, as manager Jose Mourinho appears to question his attitude.
After leaving the on-loan Real Madrid forward out of his squad for Wednesday’s extra-time defeat to Everton in the FA Cup, Mourinho revealed Bale was “not feeling comfortable” but added there was no “obvious injury”.
Here, the PA news agency breaks down Bale’s impact – or lack thereof – since his much-heralded return.
Spurs have played 35 games since Bale’s return was finalised on September 19.
That includes two Europa League qualifiers for which he was unavailable having signed after the registration deadline, leaving 33 he was eligible to play in.
Bale has appeared just 15 times, with 10 starts and only one full 90-minute appearance, and has been on the pitch for 26 per cent of his side’s total playing time – 784 minutes out of a possible 3,030.
He has contributed four goals, one each in the Premier League, Europa League, FA Cup and Carabao Cup.
His lack of impact is most obvious in league action, with the Welshman playing barely 12 per cent of the time while Harry Kane – despite his recent injury absence – and Son Heung-min dominate the scoring charts.
Spurs have played 21 league games (1,890 minutes) since his return and Bale has made just two starts and four substitute appearances totalling 230 minutes, his longest run-out being 78 minutes against West Brom in November.
He did score the winner at home to Brighton three minutes after replacing Erik Lamela, but that is so far the only league goal of his second spell at the club. His delayed first appearance on October 18 saw him come on with Spurs 3-0 up against West Ham after 72 minutes, only to draw 3-3.
By contrast, Bale has been something of a Europa League specialist after he was registered for the group stage, allowing frequent rest for Kane and Son.
He started all six games against LASK, Antwerp and Ludogorets, scoring in the 3-3 draw with the former – although that was the only time he even played into the last 20 minutes as he was substituted on each occasion.
In all, he played 393 minutes out of a possible 540 in the six games – almost exactly half of his playing time since returning.
Bale’s only full 90-minute game since his return came in the 4-1 FA Cup win over Championship side Wycombe, in which he scored his side’s equaliser in first-half stoppage time before three late goals clinched a flattering win.
He played another 26 minutes from the bench against non-league Marine, with Spurs already 5-0 up when he came on, before sitting out the Everton clash to leave him on 116 minutes out of a possible 300.
He played the first 45 minutes and scored in the Carabao Cup win over Stoke but that is his only appearance in Spurs’ run to the final of that competition – with the last-16 win over Chelsea requiring extra time and penalties, the team’s total is again 300 minutes.
Enjoy the convenience of having The Sunday Post delivered as a digital ePaper straight to your smartphone, tablet or computer.
Subscribe for only £5.49 a month and enjoy all the benefits of the printed paper as a digital replica.Subscribe