Gareth Bale was in flying form in South Africa and admitted after helping us win the Vodacom Challenge: “I feel good."
The second half of the winger’s outstanding 2010-11 campaign was hit by a couple of niggling injuries and his season ended early after suffering an ankle injury against Blackpool on May 7.
He worked on his rehabilitation and fitness throughout the summer and was back with his trademark bursting runs down the left flank during our tour of South Africa.
Fittingly, he set-up the third and final goal of the tour in the final against Orlando Pirates on Saturday, darting to the byline and crossing for Jermain Defoe to volley home from close range.
That was the icing on the cake after Rafa van der Vaart made it three goals in the tournament and two free-kicks in as many games as we ran out 3-0 winners at Ellis Park, Johannesburg.
“I've got back from my ankle injury and don't feel anything at all, touch wood,” beamed Gareth. “I feel good, the whole team feels good and I think that shows in the performance.”
Gareth said the team was delighted to lift the trophy with a convincing display. “I don't think we played to our best in the first two matches but we showed what a good team we are in the final and showed the South African fans what we're all about,” he added.
“The matches were a real test and that's what pre-season is really all about, fitness.
“Of course, no-one wants to lose and we want to win every game but the important thing is fitness and getting a good result on top of that is an added bonus.
“The team worked hard and scored three goals in the final, so that was another positive. We'd created a few chances in the games and this time we stuck them away.”