LONDON • Gareth Bale’s desire to play for the “club of his heart” could speed up his recovery from a knee injury, Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho said Monday.
Spurs initially indicated that Bale, who rejoined the club last week from Real Madrid on a season-long loan, was unlikely to be match fit until after next month’s international break.
That would put him in line to make his second Spurs debut at home to West Ham on Oct 17 – 13 years after making his first appearance at Old Trafford against Manchester United in August 2007.
Mourinho did not put a timescale on when the Wales forward will feature, but he hinted Bale’s desire to pull the Spurs shirt on for the first time since 2013 will hasten his recovery.
“I don’t know when Gareth can be back,” said the Portuguese, whose side beat Southampton 5-2 in the Premier League on Sunday.
“The only thing I know is that his motivation is high.
“He’s so happy to be with the club of his heart, he’s so happy to play for us.
“And when a player has this motivation, many times you can shorten the period of recovery, you can shorten the period of getting fit and ready to play.
“We want to help him so when he’s available to train with the team, we’re more than happy to have him and help him back to a level that made him one of the best players in the world.”
When he does make his second debut, Bale and the Spurs fans will be hoping it goes better than his first, which ended in a 1-0 defeat.
It took two years and one month, 25 games and 1,606 minutes of action before Bale first tasted victory in the Premier League.
But Spain left-back Sergio Reguilon, who moved to Tottenham from Real Madrid in a separate deal on Saturday, could launch his new stint at home against Newcastle on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Spurs’ League Cup third-round match against Leyton Orient was postponed yesterday after 18 players and staff from the League Two side tested positive for Covid-19.
Orient confirmed on Monday that some of their players had tested positive and that its Breyer Group Stadium and training ground facilities would be closed until further notice.
The English Football League, which manages the three tiers of English football below the top flight Premier League, are not carrying out weekly testing, with many Premier League clubs instead footing the bill ahead of cup clashes with lower-league opposition.
The governing body said it was waiting for the outcome of discussions between the club and Public Health England before taking any action.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS