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Bale: My 'growing problems' at Saints
7:44am Thursday 5th September 2013 in Sport
WORLD record holder Gareth Bale has spoken of his “growing problems” as a Saints academy starlet.
The £83.5m Real Madrid man remains eternally grateful to staff at Saints during a period in the mid 2000s when injuries threatened his progress.
"It was quite difficult," he said. "I had a lot of growing problems with my back which made my hamstrings tighter which means I couldn't run so quick and it kind of affected the way I played.
"So it was quite frustrating at that time, trying to do things you were able to do before but were then restricted to do.
"I think they believed that it was still there and it was a phase that I just needed to come through.
"There was a lot of debate but I think everybody at Southampton and especially Rod Ruddick, the Southampton scout who actually spotted me when I was nine, all believed that I would make it and we got through that phase and I actually showed what I was capable of."
Bale left Southampton for Tottenham in May 2007 aged just 17 and initially endured a difficult time at White Hart Lane before a switch from left-back further forward saw him flourish.
He is now the most expensive player in the history of football and, although he admits luck has played a role in his rise to the top, he is also proud of much of his own hard work.
"At that time I don't think anybody expected anything in the future to happen as big as it did," he added.
"I think it was obviously thanks to all them that they showed the faith in me and I think those little strokes of luck and the bounce of the ball, you need sometimes to get where you are and luckily that went in my favour.
"I always believed in my ability but in any sport you need that little bit of luck.
"That scout might just be there that day that you're playing in a certain game which obviously happened for me.
"So there was an element of luck but I think that a lot of it is down to your hard work and dedication and how much effort you put in on the training pitch and on game days.
"That's been there since I first started and that's still there now."
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