Gareth Bale's idols: Ryan Giggs, Diego Maradona and his own father

Gareth Bale

Tottenham Hotspur's marquee player has listed his footballing heroes, describes how he beats a player with the ball and how he can improve…

Tottenham Hotspur's incisive forward Gareth Bale has revealed that the greatest influences on his professional career have been Manchester United veteran Ryan Giggs and Argentine legend Diego Maradona, however, none of them compare to the man who had the biggest impact on him as a player - his father. 

'My dad [was my biggest influence],' Bale said to Zoo. 'Since I was three I dragged him to the park to practice and he used to take me from Cardiff to Southampton twice a week for training and a game at the weekend. He's given up most of his life for me and has been a huge influence - still to this day.'

Bale has quickly established himself as one of the Premier League's best talents. Whether he is supplying pin-point crosses to his Spurs team-mates or cutting inside to take - and beat - an opponent before rifling in a goal, the Welshman's last season was like a year-long highlight reel.

'I anticipate a defender reacting to what I'm going to do by setting up a trick, dummying them one way [but then] going another. They usually show me onto my right foot, so I know they'll be on my left side [then] I tend to cut inside and get a shot away or just make a positive impact on the game.

'I can definitely improve,' he added. 'I want to get better and the target is [to do that]. Experience helps as well.'

On who he styles his distinctive play on, Bale said: '[I'd like to mirror the play of] Ryan Giggs or Diego Maradona. In their prime, they could both weave through players like it was no effort at all.'

image: © Jan S0L0

Register for TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch