Jol: Bale the best player in the Premier League

The Fulham manager says he convinced the Welsh winger to join Tottenham, and even tried to sign him on loan as boss at Hamburg, but says Spurs have done well to hold onto him
Fulham manager Martin Jol says Tottenham have done well to keep star man Gareth Bale, after revealing he convinced the "best player in the Premier League" to sign for the north London club.

Jol revealed he has followed Bale since the age of 15 at Southampton, and admits Spurs have done well to hold onto him this long after such a good spell in his career.

"Tottenham have done well over the last three or four years, it's not only this season," Jol told the club's official website.

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"They are top-four material and at one stage under Harry Redknapp they were going for the title. I maybe started that foundation there and after that it just got better and better.

"I saw Bale at Southampton when he was 15. We followed him after that and I convinced him to come to Spurs. In hindsight, that was very satisfying as he's the best player in the Premier League.

"He shows that week in, week out. He's getting stronger and in the hole he's probably even better.

"I even tried to sign him on loan at Hamburg. He'd played 20 games without winning at Spurs but they knew he was an exciting player. They did well to keep him."

Jol also stated ahead of facing Bale and Spurs that he was annoyed at his side's lack of football recently, with the game at White Hart Lane their second and final match of the month.

"It was very annoying to only have two games this month," he admitted. "It's not what you want. It's better to keep your rhythm.

"We've got pretty much the same squad as before. We've had no more problems. Steve Sidwell is back after missing out at Sunderland and will be in the squad. Mahamadou Diarra is still out long term. The rest are all fit."

Despite Spurs playing a gruelling 120 minutes in their eventual Europa League win over Inter on Thursday, Jol is not counting on tiredness being a problem for the hosts.

"They've got a bit squad and won't have any problems," he continued. "Aaron Lennon had been injured but came on for a few minutes so that will be positive for them."