Bale can handle Madrid pressure –

he switch from Tottenham Hotspur FC to Real Madrid CF has been protracted, but Bale, still only 24, has shown more than enough times in the past that he has the mental strength to handle such pressure and expectancy with ease.

From humble beginnings as a raw football-loving kid in the parks of Cardiff, Bale emerged as a precocious young talent at the renowned academy of Southampton FC, while his arrival on the professional football scene came at the right time for both club and country.

John Toshack handed Bale his first senior cap at the age of 16 years and 315 days, his substitute appearance in a friendly against Trinidad and Tobago in May 2006 making him the youngest ever Wales player. That came a month after he had broken the equivalent Southampton record. The timing was right in that Toshack was building a squad for the future, and the fact that Bale joins Madrid as an established international with 41 caps is testament to the faith shown in him from a delicate young age. via  –



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