Tottenham Hotspur star Gareth Bale is probably the best player in the Premier League and perhaps even Europe on current form, according to Phil Neville.
Bale has been an instrumental presence in Tottenham's superb sustained assault on the Premier League summit this season, and the aforementioned Everton captain, who successfully shackled the White Hart Lane speedster last season, believes the Wales international has improved this year.
Neville is one of the very few fullbacks to have enjoyed success against the hugely talented Tottenham star, following Everton's 2-1 win over Spurs at Goodison Park last season. Neviile's robust and overtly physical handling of Bale was widely praised by Harry Redknapp and David Moyes, but the aforementioned fullback suggests the task is patently harder than before given Bale's current form.
"I see him (Tottenham Hotspur star Gareth Bale) doing things now that he wasn't doing 12 months ago. Teams have tried to block him on the flanks but he has started coming into the middle. He has started scoring a lot of goals and that is something he has added."
Regarding last season's match against Tottenham, which actually led to Harry Redknapp making an ambitious approach to sign the Toffees' talisman.
"What do I remember of the game last year? I was given a lot of help by my team-mates, as is always the case." Neville said of their 2-1 victory over Tottenham. "You never get left on your own when you play for Everton.
"But he is maturing into an outstanding left-winger -he's probably the best in the Premier League if not in Europe right now."
Tottenham's form this season has regularly been championed as the most eye-catching in the division, most recently by Sir Alex Ferguson, and a win against Everton on Wednesday night would close the gap on league leaders Manchester City.
The game was initially scheduled on the opening day of the season, but due to the rioting in Tottenham it was postponed. Redknapp believes the cancellation could work in Spurs' favour.
"I felt we were struggling at the start of year - the postponement might have been a blessing," The Tottenham manager told reporters on Wednesday. "It wasn't a good time as Luka [Modric] was [maybe] going [to Chelsea]. [Scott] Parker and [Emmanuel] Adebayor were not here and we didn't have a great pre-season in terms of being prepared. In the end, it might turn out to be a blessing (for Tottenham)."