Gareth Bale 'looks happier than ever' - Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho

Gareth Bale
Gareth Bale is on loan at Spurs from Real Madrid

Wales forward Gareth Bale "looks happier" than ever according to Tottenham Hotspur boss Jose Mourinho.

The statement will be welcomed by Wales fans in a season in which fitness issues have led to Bale's playing future being questioned.

"Lately he has been fine," said Mourinho.

The Spurs manager added: "He looks confident. In training you can see he has his confidence back, the way he hits his shots."

That confidence came to the fore as Bale fired in during Spurs' 4-0 Europa League win over Wolfsberger in midweek with the Welshman having inspired them to a 4-1 away win against the same opposition six days earlier.

Those efforts came after Bale's agent Jonathan Barnett suggested the former Southampton player was "towards the end of his career".

The 31-year-old's form has since shown signs of improving, prompting speculation Mourinho could include Bale in his starting side for Sunday's Premier League encounter against Burnley.

Bale is on loan for the season at Spurs after falling out of favour at Real Madrid, where fitness issues dogged him in recent seasons.

Wales begin their 2022 World Cup qualifiers away to Belgium on Wednesday, 24 March and Mourinho says Bale has begun to display mental freedom following his injury issues.

"I think the mental is always a consequence of the physical," said the Portuguese.

"If a player feels great, if he is playing 100% and if the feelings are all good, there are no psychological problems or fears or barriers.

"When you have little worries and especially when you have a recent history of injuries, it's normal to have some fears and these fears have a consequence. But lately he has been fine.

"It's just a question of how many minutes he can play and how many days he needs to recover between matches. He looks happier than ever."

Mourinho added: "You could see from his goal on Wednesday. It was a confident shot. A player with fear or negative feelings would never have hit that type of shot. To strike the ball that way, I think that strike means a lot.

"It means freedom. It means freedom in relation to the brain muscle. For this you need to be in a good condition. He is in the best condition since he arrived."

Mourinho's viewpoint is a stark contrast to the irritation he showed when Bale withdrew from an FA Cup trip to Everton despite a post on his social media saying he had enjoyed a good training session.

Mourinho said: "A player with a lot of experience, they know their body better than anyone.

"There is no coach, no fitness coach, no sports scientist, no medical that knows better than a very experienced player, especially a player who had years of small problems, bigger problems, but situations that have had an influence and an impact on the past couple of years of his career.

"We trust his experience and analysis. And everything with him is done with a great participation of everyone. Because everyone wants the best for him because in the end, the best for him is the best for Tottenham."

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