Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp tells young left-back Gareth Bale: Now is your time to shine

Harry Redknapp has thrown down a challenge for Gareth Bale to impose himself as a top flight defender in the absence of Benoit Assou-Ekotto.

Bale has struggled to impose himself since moving to Tottenham from Southampton two-and-a-half years ago but now has a chance with Assou-Ekotto out for up to a month with a groin injury.

Redknapp said: 'Gareth has the potential to be a great player. He's trained hard, worked hard and his attitude has been fantastic.

'It's up to him now to have a good run and show everybody what he can do.

Gareth Bale

Time to shine: With regular left-back Benoit Assou-Ekotto out injured, Spurs boss Harry Redknapp expects Gareth Bale to impose himself in his first team plans

'People forget he's young and still learning the game but he is a great size, a terrific athlete with a great left foot, and a good lad. So I'm sure he's going to do well."

Welsh international Bale played 24 games in the Premier League before he was on the winning side for Spurs against Burnley in September.

The 20-year-old, out of contract next year, has often been linked with a move away from White Hart Lane.

His defensive work has often been criticised but his manager still expects him to mature into a full-back.

Gareth Bale

Bright hopes: Redknapp believes Bale is a big talent

Redknapp said: 'When he plays wide of four in midfield he hasn't really got a trick to beat somebody but he's a great crosser of the ball when he's confronted by a full-back.

'In my opinion, he's going to be a top left-back.'

Bale is expected to be given a chance in the FA Cup against Peterborough on Saturday, managed by Mark Cooper, son of Terry, an attacking left-back for Leeds and England who started out as a winger.

Redknapp said: 'I played against Terry quite a lot.

'He was a great player, probably the best left-back in the world at one time.

'He went from being a bang-average left winger to being the best left-back in the world.

'He was fantastic going forward but going nowhere much until they switched him back.'

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