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Page last updated at 17:22 GMT, Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp backs Gareth Bale

Tottenham defender Gareth Bale
Bale has featured seven times for Tottenham this season

Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp has insisted Gareth Bale can fill the void left when Benoit Assou-Ekotto goes to the Africa Cup of Nations in January.

The Cameroon international's fine form has limited Bale, 20, to just seven appearances for Spurs this season but Redknapp has backed the Welsh defender.

"I'm not looking for a left-back because you won't get a better one than Gareth Bale," said Redknapp.

"He's worked hard, trained well and has been in good form."

Bale had been linked with a move away from White Hart Lane in January, possibly to gain experience on loan, but that now seems unlikely.

The Africa Cup of Nations starts on 10 January with most Premier League clubs set to lose key players for around a month.

Modric's Cruyff Mask

Spurs will be without Assou-Ekotto as well as fellow Cameroon defender Sebastien Bassong for the games against Liverpool, Hull, Fulham and possibly the trip to Birmingham.

Redknapp has already been forced to shuffle his back four this season after losing Ledley King (knee) and Jonathan Woodgate (groin) to injury.

However, Tottenham go into Christmas in fifth place in the Premier League after being boosted by the form of another young defender, 26-year-old Michael Dawson.

"He's been brilliant," said striker Peter Crouch after last weekend's win at Blackburn.

"He heads everything, tackles everything, throws himself in for it the whole game, every game."

Dawson has also been the subject of speculation about his future at Spurs with a bid from Sunderland being rumoured but both Tottenham and the Blacks Cats have dismissed the claims as untrue.

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see also
Fan drops Assou-Ekotto allegation
14 Dec 09 |  Tottenham
Woodgate fears World Cup omission
24 Nov 09 |  Internationals
Tottenham rule out extra spending
10 Dec 09 |  Tottenham
Bassong gives Spurs injury boost
21 Sep 09 |  Tottenham
Redknapp sets league as priority
30 Nov 09 |  Tottenham

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