Danny Mills has claimed Gareth Bale’s continued absence from the Tottenham side is purely down to his fitness.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former England and Manchester City defender insisted the Wales international still has the quality to contribute to Jose Mourinho’s side.
Spurs TV inadvertently broadcast a video the Sun reported Mourinho recounting to his assistant Joao Sacramento how he had told Bale, “You want to stay here? Or go to Real Madrid and play no football?”
The 31-year-old has played just 160 minutes of top-flight action this term and was left on the bench for Spurs’ recent games with strugglers Fulham and Sheffield United.
Asked by Football Insider why he thought Bale was struggling to get into Mourinho’s starting XI, Mills said: “I’m just assuming he’s not fit, for whatever reason.
“Clearly he’s a talented player and the bits that we’ve seen, it’s not as if he’s done anything particularly bad.
“But is he fit enough to start games and finish games at the moment? Is he robust enough?
“Maybe that’s what it is and maybe we’re starting to see why he wasn’t playing at Real Madrid as much as everyone thought. We don’t follow it as closely and everyone thought it was a falling out with Zidane. Maybe he wasn’t up to the fitness levels required to play.
“He’s had illness’, he’s had injuries since he’s come to Tottenham. Maybe there’s more to it, it’s not that he’s not good enough, it’s not just he’s not playing. There’s clearly something else involved now.”
Bale has played 12 games across all competitions this season, including starting all six of their Europa League games but he did not complete the full 90 minutes once.