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Gareth Bale is one of Europe's best, says Cliff Jones

Tottenham and Wales star Gareth Bale
Bale is showing the form that initially brought him to White Hart Lane

Tottenham full-back Gareth Bale is developing into one of the best players in Europe, according to Wales and Spurs legend Cliff Jones.

The 20-year-old has been in superb form for Spurs recently, scoring in his side's wins over Arsenal and Chelsea.

"You talk about me being the Welsh Wizard, but now it's Gareth who is the Welsh Wizard," said Jones, who was part of Spurs' double-winning team in 1961.

"At the moment, I would say he's got to be one of the best players in Europe."

Left-back Bale joined the Champions League chasers in May 2007 as a 17-year-old from Southampton for a fee worth up to £10m.

But his early time at White Hart Lane was hampered by injuries, including a broken foot and a knee problem.

More recently, he has had to be patient for his chance because of the form of Benoit Assou-Ekotto.

But since the Cameroon international suffered a groin injury in January, Bale has established himself in the first team - both at left-back and on the wing.

He also ended an unwanted record of failing to win 24 consecutive Premier League matches in which he started in the game.

I believe Gareth will be the first Welsh player to win 100 caps

Wales and Spurs legend Cliff Jones

"I've been watching Gareth for a while now and he's become a very special player," said Jones who spent 10 years at Spurs and was considered by some to be the best winger in the world at the time.

"I was so impressed with him after the Everton game [in February], I had to go and see him and have a chat.

"He has such an all-round game and is such an impressive young man."

Despite being just 20, Bale is one of the first-team regulars for Wales, winning 24 caps and scoring twice.

The Cardiff-born star is still the youngest player to feature for the senior side having made his debut in the 2-1 win over Trinidad & Tobago, aged 16 years and 315 days.

He has some way to go to pass goalkeeper Neville Southall's record caps total of 92, but Jones thinks that will happen.

"I told Gareth I believe he will be the first Welsh player to win 100 caps," he added.

"He's the right age, he's the ability and he's going to be the first one to do it."

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see also
Tottenham 2-1 Chelsea
17 Apr 10 |  Premier League
Tottenham 2-1 Arsenal
14 Apr 10 |  Premier League
Redknapp backing Bale to step up
22 Dec 09 |  Tottenham
Spurs unveil Wales back Bale
03 Aug 07 |  Wales
Tottenham complete Bale transfer
25 May 07 |  Tottenham

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