Mason delays Bale future talk after 'world-class' hat-trick vs Sheffield United

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Interim Tottenham manager Ryan Mason refused to speculate on whether the club would keep Gareth Bale beyond 2020-21, telling reporters the subject "is a discussion for once the season is done".

His comments came after Bale put three past Sheffield United on Sunday in a 4-0 win for Spurs - the first time the winger has netted a hat-trick in the Premier League since 2012.

Bale has alternated between being a core part of Tottenham's attack and a fringe player while on loan from Real Madrid this year, but Mason claimed the Wales player "hasn’t and won’t lose that [world class] ability in the final third".

What has been said?

“I said all along Gareth Bale hasn’t and won’t lose that ability in the final third to produce moments of excellence," Mason told Sky Sports. "He’s a world-class player – he’s proved that over many years. The most pleasing thing about him tonight was his attitude, his running for the team. You feel confident he’ll take the chances.

"I think that [whether Bale could stay] is a discussion once the season is done. Our priority is the next game."

Mason added to BBC Sport:  "When you score a hat-trick and in crucial moments you’ll get the headlines. He's world-class, we know that. Everyone who has watched football over the past 10 years knows what he can do. His finishing was outstanding."

Bale, meanwhile, praised Spurs' response to a Carabao Cup final loss to Manchester City last weekend.

"We had to bounce back [from the Carabao Cup defeat] in a positive way and we did that tonight," he said to BBC.

"[Not having a Premier League hat-trick since 2012] seems worse than it is because I've been away for a while.

"It's always nice to get a hat-trick but we take each game as it comes and a positive response from the weekend is all we can do. It's nice to get three goals but the team comes first. We need all the points we can get now so we’ll keep fighting to the end."

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Still in the hunt for fourth

Tottenham are not quite out of the race for Champions League qualification, moving up to fifth place on Sunday, where they sit five points behind Chelsea and seven behind Leicester City.

There are just four matches remaining in their season, but they do get to play Leicester on May 23 as they try to pull off an improbable turnaround under Mason.

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