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The Spurs midfielder has heaped praise on his team-mate, insisting that his performances have come from determination and fierce training daily

Tom Huddlestone has hailed his Tottenham team-mate, Gareth Bale, who is set to make his return to Southampton, five years after leaving the club for Spurs.

The then 17-year-old Bale left the Saints in 2007 on a €9 million transfer, although it took the Welshman 24 games before he experienced winning in a Spurs shirt.

However, he has since gone on to become a regular starter for Tottenham and help them consolidate their form as a top-six club.

Huddlestone, 25, believes that Bale's displays are down to his hard work. He told The Sun: “Since he became a regular we have gone from strength to strength. It’s not a miracle because he works hard every day — but it is incredible.”

The Welshman is also excited at the prospect of playing against his former club, according to Huddlestone, who added: "This will be a special game for him.

“He [Bale] told me it’s the game he’s been waiting for all season.”

Huddlestone also talked about the infamous wait before Bale won a game with Spurs.

He commented: “I don’t remember his first day here, but I do remember he had a slightly unfortunate record after that.

“It was two years before he won a game or something!

“Footballers never joke about losing matches. But we gave him a bit of stick about that.

“To be fair, it wasn’t his fault we were losing. There were even a couple of games when we were on our way to a defeat and the manager would bring him on.

“And that would add another game to the run!”

Southampton host Tottenham on Sunday afternoon, where the away side hope to take all three points to keep the pressure on their north London rivals Arsenal.

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