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The Scot oversaw the pair's development during his time as Southampton boss and insists the Tottenham wideman has always been a bigger talent than his Arsenal counterpart

Former Southampton boss George Burley has claimed that Gareth Bale was always a more complete player than Theo Walcott.

The Scot handed both players their professional debuts during his time in charge at St Mary's before they sealed moves to the Premier League with Tottenham and Arsenal respectively.

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And, ahead of the pair going head-to-head in the north London derby this weekend, Burley has expressed his belief that the Welshman has the upper hand in terms of talent.

"I always thought Gareth was the better prospect," he told The Mirror. "Theo had different attributes. Gareth was more the package in terms of that quality on the ball.

“Theo left Southampton when he was 16. That was in the very early stages of his career and he didn’t have that many games under his belt, while Gareth had two seasons."

Burley also revealed that Manchester United were interested in taking Bale but refused to pay the asking price which was eventually met by Spurs.

“Me and the chairman had a meeting with Sir Alex and their chief executive about going there but I felt that Gareth was as good as Theo or even better so we weren’t going to accept less money.

“He is a player who had that quality. I had every faith in Gareth. I knew how good he was and we weren’t going to let him go for what was offered."

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