Gareth Bale has faced 'tough ride' at Tottenham, says agent Jonathan Barnett

Gareth Bale has overcome an unnecessary “tough ride” during his season-long loan at Tottenham and is playing at his best, according to his agent Jonathan Barnett.

Bale, 31, returned to Tottenham last summer from Real Madrid but has largely proved a peripheral figure as he started just six Premier League games under Jose Mourinho prior to his sacking in April.

The Wales international has since started in Ryan Mason’s first two league games as interim head coach, scoring four goals including a hat-trick against Sheffield United on Sunday.

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Asked whether Bale will extend his stay, Barnett told Sky Sports News’ Inside Football: “Nothing has been discussed at the moment.

“He had a tough ride and I don’t think that should have been necessary.

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“He came as one of the best players in the world. Sure, he had a few injuries and a few fitness problems but once they were over, all he needed was to be played in the right position and to be played constantly to get back into the rhythm.

“He has been given that opportunity and you can see how he plays. I think with Gareth, like a lot of players, he has to enjoy his life and then you do well.”

Spurs' bid for top-four finish

Tottenham currently sit sixth in the Premier League, five points adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea with four games left in their season.

Barnett claimed Bale was not playing regularly earlier this season because he was coming towards the end of his career but has now appeared to question Mourinho’s handling of the four-time Champions League winner.

“Given the opportunity, given the right way to play him you may have found that he was always at his best,” he added.

“He just didn’t have the opportunity to prove it or the way to prove it.”

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Bale will captain his country at this summer’s Euros, fitness permitting, and Barnett does not envisage many clubs being able to entice the Southampton academy product when his future is addressed at the end of the season.

“They would have to have a lot of money and they would have to be one that he has an interest in playing for,” he said. “That rules out a lot of clubs.”

Grealish loves Villa – let’s see how things pan out

Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish, another of Barnett’s high-profile players, is also expected to feature on the international stage for England under Gareth Southgate.

Former Manchester United captain Roy Keane told Sky Sports last weekend Grealish, who has missed the past 11 matches for Villa, should be a priority summer target at Old Trafford.

But Barnett said Grealish, 25, remains loyal to his boyhood club, where he is contracted until 2025.

“He loves Villa, but I think we just have to wait to see how things pan out,” he added.

“At the moment he is a Villa player and he has had no thoughts about anything else.

“We have to do what is best for Jack and for everybody else.”

Grealish has drawn comparisons to Paul Gascoigne and Barnett is confident the attacking midfielder can be one of the leading players at the Euros if he is selected.

“I think he is a very special player. I think he maybe should have been playing for England a little earlier,” Barnett said.

“It is unfortunate that he has got this injury at the moment but that will be fine. He has got a great mentality. On the field, he knows exactly what he wants to do, how to do it.

“I think he could be a big star in the summer. Only hope that he is given a chance and that will be great.”

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