Alex McLeish has suggested Gareth Bale is struggling to stay fit at Tottenham after a “strange” claim from the winger’s agent.
The former Scotland manager, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, suggested the winger must be “feeling the strain” of top-class football after it was suggested he was heading into the twilight of his playing days.
Speaking at a Financial Times event, as quoted by Sky Sports, Bale’s agent Jonathan Barnett claimed the 31-year-old was not playing regularly at Spurs as he is “towards the end of his career”.
The Welsh winger was handed his 11th start of the season against Wolfsberger on Thursday night to continue his run of being named among the starting XI for all seven of Spurs’ Europa League games this term.
He rewarded Jose Mourinho’s faith with a fiercely-struck effort for the Lilywhites’ second and lasted 64 minutes before being replaced by Erik Lamela.
However, the wide man has not been a regular in the Premier League this season with just two starts in seven top-flight appearances.
McLeish admitted it was strange to hear what the winger’s representative had to say and suggested the Spurs star may be struggling with the demands of elite football.
McLeish told Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge: “That is a strange thing to say, how old’s Gareth now?  Is that all? Well, you just don’t know what his body’s been through.
“Some players go on, Gordon Strachan went on until he was about 40, he was playing for Leeds around that age, but a lot of players get ravaged by injuries, their careers kind of stop.
“You can be forced out the game in your 20s but the technology and recoveries for things like cruciates and all these things are supreme but the wear and tear on a body, you can never tell.
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) February 18, 2021
“Gareth Bale has played at such a high level in terms of his speed and you can’t stay fast forever and when your legs have gone, your legs go. Who knows, maybe he’s feeling the strain a wee bit of his previous 10 years or so at a very, very high level.
“There must be something in that if his agent’s saying it.”