Gareth Bale dealt Tottenham a “massive kick in the teeth” by suggesting he was using his loan stay to build fitness ahead of a return to Real Madrid, according to Noel Whelan.

The former Leeds striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, accused the 31-year-old of using Spurs as a “stepping stone”.

Speaking to Sky Sports, Bale confirmed he planned to return to Real Madrid after building up his fitness at Spurs ahead of this summer’s European Championship.

The Wales international still has a year left on his contract in Madrid.

However, he has fallen firmly out of favour under manager Zinedine Zidane.

He started just 14 times in 20 appearances last season and joined Spurs on loan back in September.

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However, he has not been a regular for Jose Mourinho, with just six league starts under his belt so far.

Whelan ripped into Bale for his comments and insisted his loan spell was a “waste of time” for all parties.

Whelan told Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge: “Very strange to come out and say that he’s using a club that gave him everything to go back to a club that has gotten no intention of wanting him back at all.

“On both ends, it’s a kick in the teeth for Real Madrid. A massive kick in the teeth for Tottenham to say you’re using them as a stepping stone to get fit.

“You don’t use Tottenham as a stepping stone. You use a lower club as a stepping stone to get fit, or you stay at Real Madrid. It’s as simple as that.

“If you’ve got no intention of making this move permanent and putting in the work effort that is needed to show them that he wants to be there, then it’s never gonna work out.

“It’s a waste of time for everybody, including Gareth Bale.”

In other news, Kevin Campbell claims Harry Winks’ career will crash and burn unless he quits Tottenham.