Gareth Bale is ready for another fascinating dual with Everton’s Philip Neville at Goodison tonight, Wednesday, January 5.
Much was made of Neville’s performance against the flying winger in our 1-1 draw at the Lane back in October.
That was just three days after Gareth had scored his famous hat-trick against Inter Milan at the San Siro, running world-renowned full-back Maicon ragged.
Neville used all his experience to keep Gareth relatively quiet that day as the Toffees ‘doubled-up’ on the Welsh star, with right midfielder Seamus Coleman doing his defensive duty to help Neville keep him at bay.
Now the pair meet again and Gareth says it’s the type of challenge he relishes – and one he knows he has to get used to as his reputation grows.
“It’s a big challenge and one I’m looking forward to,” he said. “Philip Neville has a lot of experience and it will be a tough test, but not just for me, for everyone at Everton.
“It wasn’t just him at White Hart Lane, he had players helping him as well, the right winger was right on my toes all the time so I couldn’t get the ball and if I got past him, the centre-back would come over to cover.
“It was the way they set-up and teams do that against me and Azza (Aaron Lennon) at the moment, we have to try and figure out ways to get around it.
“I suppose it’s a compliment to us that teams are looking to do that.”
Harry Redknapp agreed that it’s something Gareth will have to get used to.
“Neville played him well (at the Lane) and teams will be out to stop Gareth, for sure,” said the manager.
“There will be talk about him leading up to matches, ‘we’ve got to stop this fella’ and he will have to work that bit harder to get the ball and then when he gets the opportunity, to make use of it.
“He has been doing that all season and he’s been great for us.
“He's had an amazing season. If he can continue that for the rest of the season we'll be delighted. His goal tally is great and let's hope it continues.”