Rodgers insists Swans are ready to tackle Spurs” “perfect” Bale
Swansea manager Brendan Rodgers says his side will come up against the “perfect” footballer when Gareth Bale lines up for Tottenham at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday.
Wales international Bale has been one of the world”s best left-wingers over the course of the last 18 months, and grabbed both goals as Spurs continued their excellent recent form with a 2-0 win at Norwich on Tuesday.
The 22-year-old”s performance at Carrow Road was hailed as “unplayable” by Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp, and Rodgers was similarly fulsome in his praise of the former Southampton player.
Unplayable: Gareth Bale (left) has been in scintillating form for Spurs
“He is perfect,” said the Northern Irishman. “His size, his pace, his power and his touch on the ball mean he is a wonderful, wonderful talent and a good lad by all accounts.
“I watched his goal against Norwich when Russell Martin was chasing him. Russell Martin is quick but Bale just ran away from him and he couldn”t get back to him.
“If he was on the market any of the top teams in the world would take him.”
Much has been made of Bale playing in what appeared to be a more central role against the Canaries as Redknapp looks to combat opponents” tactics of doubling up on the Welshman. But Rodgers believes the move is not as clearly defined as that.
“I don”t think he was in a central role,” said Rodgers. “He had freedom, if you look at the shape of the team they had a front diamond with Emmanuel Adebayor through the middle, Luke Modric in behind, Rafael van der Vaart on the right and Bale on the left. The players rotate and use their intelligence to find space.
“Perfect”: Rodgers was full of praise for the Welshman
“He will find himself inside at times and that”s the development of his game. When he burst on to the scene he was an out and out winger who went on his travels and journeys and produced magic.
“But people started to get tight to him with two or three men to block his space, so he has learnt from playing with and against top player to find the solution, so he finds space inside.
“When people try to block him inside he goes outside, if they block him outside he goes inside.”
While Swansea”s much-vaunted home form has been impressive, taking 16 points from nine games, they will face the sternest of tests against a Spurs side who are genuine title contenders having lost just one league game since their 5-1 drubbing against Manchester City in August.
But Rodgers has told his squad, who will be without Steven Caulker due to the terms of the defender”s loan from Tottenham, not be afraid of their third-placed opponents despite their attacking flair.
Ineligible: Steven Caulker won”t be able to play against his parent club
Rodgers said: “We know we will be asked serious questions on Saturday, but that”s our job.
“When you have a team who are quick you can”t be naive and stupid and press high up the pitch, you have to find ways of blocking space and controlling the depth of the game and you have to hurt teams when you have the ball.
“I am looking forward to us testing ourselves because that is why we are in the league.”
Rodgers also revealed that the club are very close to finally signing teenage striker Rory Donnelly from Cliftonville.
Swansea had appeared to be favourites after having an initial offer of around 100,000, but were forced to up their offer as Merseyside giants Liverpool and Everton registered their interest in the player.
On his way: Rory Donnelly is set to join Swansea in January
But a deal now looks likely after Rodgers said: “I think we now have an agreement on both sides in terms of Cliftonville as a club and personal terms with the player, so we hope to complete that fairly soon.
“He will be over here for the game against Tottenham on Saturday. We will look to complete the medical tomorrow and get that put to bed and the boy can then come over and work on developing his game.
“I will talk more about him once the deal is done but he is coming here without pressure, he is coming from a part-time level.
“He has shone in the early part of the season and there have been other clubs interested, but we will talk more once he signs the papers.”