Glenn Hoddle is looking forward to seeing Gareth Bale back in a Tottenham shirt but has wished “good luck to those physios” who will try and manage the Welshman through a second stint in north London.
A return to English football is yet to be officially confirmed for a 31-year-old forward, but a loan agreement is being put in place.
Bale will be heading back to Spurs after seven years in Spain with Real Madrid – with a rollercoaster of emotions experienced while with the Blancos.
Hoddle believes a proven performer at the very highest level is capable of thriving again in familiar surroundings, having become the most expensive player on the planet during a previous stint with Spurs, but concedes that fitness issues are a concern for a man reportedly nursing a knee complaint.
The former Tottenham player and coach told FourFourTwo: “As a Spurs man, I’m excited.
“If Gareth was a car, in the last two seasons he hasn’t had very much mileage. It’s not like he’s played forty-odd games for two seasons, and he’s knackered. You’d say there’s plenty left in the tank.
“He’s not a true 31-year-old - he’s really like a 28-year-old because he hasn’t had that much football in the last couple of years, so he should have that in the tank waiting to go.
“Now it’s how the engine is - is it finely tuned? That’s where Jose Mourinho and the medical staff at Tottenham have got such an important part to play - how they keep him fit and protect him at the right times, and make sure they get 30-plus games out of him.
“I don’t think we’re going to see a Gareth Bale like when he left Tottenham. I don’t think he’s going to be box to box, beating five or six players.
“There’ll be times when that might happen in little spurts, but he’s a more experienced player now, and if he can keep his body fit and keep that engine right, with the experience he’s gained, he’s always had a pass in him.
“For some players who rely on their pace, they find it hard when they get into the autumn of their career. Gareth can see pictures, he can pass and he can create, as well as score wonderful goals. I think we’ll see a slightly different player, but it will suit Jose tactically.
“Daniel Levy likes a shrewd deal, and this is a shrewd deal. He hasn’t gone and had to pay £80m for him, and then paid his wages as well.
“It’s going to be a massive challenge for Tottenham and Gareth Bale, hence why they have to get his body right. Good luck to those physios at Tottenham, they’ve got a big job on their hands.”
While excited about the return of Bale, Hoddle is not convinced that Jose Mourinho needs to be exploring the option of snapping up Danny Ings from Southampton – with Spurs said to be keen on the England international striker.
“If I’m brutally honest, if Gareth Bale wasn’t coming, I’d have said maybe they do need him, yeah,” Hoddle added.
“But if he’s going to come as a number two to Harry Kane, I’m not sure that’s right for Danny Ings at this moment in his career.
“I don’t think at the moment we probably need him - he’s a wonderful striker, but he’ll want to play week in and week out. If he’s coming as a second choice to Kane, I don’t think that would happen.
“There’s enough firepower, there’s enough goals there, so people have got to step up for Tottenham now.”