Bale hails impact of Walker at Tottenham

The Welsh midfielder has hailed the 22-year-old performances this season but has warned that next season will be more difficult as opponents will be aware of the threat he poses

Tottenham winger Gareth Bale has praised the impact of team-mate Kyle Walker.

The former Sheffield United player, in his first full season for Spurs, quickly established himself as first-choice right-back after a string of impressive performances, which culminated with him being crowned PFA Young Player of the Year.

Having initially struggled to break into the north Londoners’ first-team earlier in his career himself, Bale recognises that a run of games was the opportunity Walker needed to display his ability for all to see.

Bale told Spurs TV: "He needed a run in the team, he got that and he's showed exactly what he can do this season.

"He's played really well. He's set himself a benchmark this season and hopefully he can maintain it.

However, Bale has warned Walker to expect a tougher time next season with players now aware of the threat he poses after experiencing the same problem since he introduced himself in early 2010.

He added: "Players know all about him now, they will be looking to stop those forward runs and he has to find a way around it - I'm sure he will."

A toe injury ruled the defender out of the chance to represent England at Euro 2012 after gaining his first cap in the 1-0 friendly victory over Spain in November 2011.