Bale hails Villas-Boas as he hints again at Tottenham stay

The Welshman says the Portuguese has helped him flourish into the sought-after player he has become over the past 12 months, and feels the club are heading into the right direction
Tottenham star Gareth Bale says Andre Villas-Boas' tactical nous has helped him grow as a player and create a "very exciting time for the club".

The 23-year-old scored 26 goals in all competitions last season, becoming the first Spurs player since Jurgen Klinsmann in 1994-95 to notch 20 league goals in a single campaign, as he won both the PFA Player and Young Player of the Year awards.

80/1 Tottenham are 80/1 with William Hill to win the Europa League & FA Cup next season
Tottenham, meanwhile, once again suffered the agony of missing out on Champions League football on the final day of the campaign, but with Villas-Boas guiding the club to a record Premier League points haul Bale feels the future is positive at White Hart Lane.

"He has helped me in all aspects of my game," Bale told Spurs TV. "In training we have been working on things that I can do in games and in games he has given me the confidence to do what I want and do what I do best, which is a massive thing for a player.

"Everyone was excited about him coming in. He is a young manager and he has got a great past at  Porto. Maybe not so much at Chelsea but given time, like he has been this season, he has shown what a good manager he is. It has been a very exciting time for the club.

"He has tried his new tactics, his new style of play with us. Sometimes it does take a bit of time just to get used to it and at the start of the season I think that was a bit difficult. But we adapted and got stronger and stronger."

Bale has been heavily linked with a move away from the club following his goalscoring heroics, with Real Madrid president Florentino Perez publically voicing his admiration of the forward.

Goal understands Spurs are keen to tie Bale down with a new £130,000 a week contract and the Wales international says he is just keeping his feet on the ground in light of speculation and individual acclaim from elsewhere.

"You just keep focused on the job in hand," he said. "It has been an amazing season for me but it has been a great team effort. We have grown as a team all season and I think that helped me individually and that is why I am able to play so well and get my awards."