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Last Updated: Saturday, 26 May 2007, 10:10 GMT 11:10 UK
Record-breaking Bale 'so modest'
Gareth Bale playing for Wales
The teenager scored in Wales's 3-0 home win over San Marino
The skills which have made Gareth Bale Wales's most expensive footballer were obvious from an early age, says his former PE teacher.

Full-back Bale, 17, Wales's youngest international, has finalised his 10m move from Southampton to Tottenham.

His early talent was spotted at Whitchurch High School in Cardiff.

Head of PE Gwyn Morris said he rated the teenager as one of the most talented pupils he had taught, but said Bale remained "so modest".

Bale shot to prominence in 2006 when he made his Southampton debut at 16, followed closely by his first appearance for Wales in a 2-1 win over Trinidad and Tobago.

In October, he became the youngest player the score for Wales with a free-kick in a defeat to Slovakia at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.

When I saw him playing for Wales, it brought a lump to my throat
Gwyn Morris

He has been a rumoured transfer target for Premiership clubs including Manchester United, but opted to sign for Spurs.

Spurs will make a first payment of 5m, and extra instalments could see it go up to 10m.

But his former PE teacher said such a high-profile move would not affect the teenager.

Mr Morris said: "He's just Gareth Bale, he's had a good upbringing and he's a strong young man," said Gwyn Morris.

"I came to Whitchurch when he was in year nine so he was about 14 and he had already been spotted by Southampton then.

"He was such a gifted young man even then and he had the attitude and commitment to go with it.

"I've said it before, but he had such a fierce determination to succeed but remains so modest and was one of the most talented pupils I've ever had the pleasure to teach."

Gareth Bale
Gareth Bale still keeps in touch with his old school in Cardiff

Mr Morris said Bale's obvious football skills meant teachers could challenge him during sports lessons.

"We banned him from using his left foot," said Mr Morris.

"But even though we did that, he was still as good with his right foot!

"We wanted him to be challenged and to focus on certain areas to help him in the future.

"Tactically and skill wise, he is doing super."

He also remained unchanged by success, according to Mr Morris.

"He was always one of the lads and he still comes to school sometimes to visit because his year group are still here in the sixth form," he said.

"He's such a level-headed young man and still has a kick-about with the boys on the common - that's the sort of boy he is.

"When I saw him playing for Wales, it brought a lump to my throat."




SEE ALSO
Bale closes on Tottenham switch
24 May 07 |  Tottenham Hotspur
Wales 3-0 San Marino
28 Mar 07 |  Internationals
Bale savours record Wales debut
28 May 06 |  Internationals

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