Ledley King insists Gareth Bale’s goal threat has lifted the Welsh flyer to another level.
Our longest-serving player, Ledley has been delighted to watch the winger’s rise and rise after joining us from Southampton back in the summer of 2007.
Still only 21, Gareth enjoyed a stunning 2010 calendar year and 2010-11 season, his hat-trick against Inter Milan in the San Siro and performances home and away against world-class full-back Maicon sending reverberations around Europe and beyond.
He picked up the accolade of PFA Player of the Season in April, voted for by his peers, and ended the season with 11 goals in 41 appearances in all competitions.
Tellingly, those 11 goals came in his first 28 matches up to Everton on January 5 when his team-mates have described him as 'unstoppable'.
He was injured that day at Goodison and a series of niggles hampered him for the rest of the campaign – the final, more serious ankle injury against Blackpool on May 7 ended his season early.
Gareth insists he’ll come back better than ever next term and Ledley underlined that there was no surprise within the camp at his displays last season.
“He just carried on where he left off the season before,” said Ledley. “But what he’s added is a goal threat, he’s so dangerous in those attacking areas now.
“Earlier in his career he moved between left-back and left midfield but you always knew with his left foot that he could create chances and score goals.
“Now he’s looking like he can score goals every week, as well as make goals.
“He’s a big player for this team now and for the future.
“I’m delighted for him. He’s such a good lad as well. To win the PFA award as well, that’s such a special achievement, especially at his age. It shows you how well he’s done.”