Tony Cascarino has compared Tottenham Hotspur winger Gareth Bale to Manchester United hero David Beckham in that both players at their best, play with a carefree abandonment.
Citing the Manchester United legend's performance for England against Greece in 2001, Cascarino believes Bale has a similar tendency to forsake his natural position for Tottenham in order to make a telling impact on the game.
The former Republic of Ireland international suggests the Tottenham star is one of the major reasons behind Harry Redknapp's side's sustained Premier League title challenge this season even though at times, like Beckham, the White Hart Lane talisman can display "complete indiscipline" in terms of his positional play.
Bale scored a superb brace in Tottenham's 2-0 victory over Norwich on Tuesday. The victory ensured Harry Redknapp side's maintained their challenge on Manchester City and Manchester United, and Spurs are now just seven points behind with a game in hand and Cascarino believes Bale has been the catalyst for Tottenham this season.
"Gareth Bale appears to be the sort of player who would infuriate his team-mates." Cascarino told the Times while discussing Tottenham's match winner against Norwich. "He plays with total abandon, popping up on the left, the right, as a central striker and a midfield playmaker. Actually, though, this is OK: the consolation is that, as he was against Norwich City, there are times when he is completely unplayable."
Cascarino continued: "It was the sort of performance (Tottenham's Bale against Norwich) that reminded me of David Beckham single-handedly taking England to the World Cup finals at Old Trafford in 2001. That day, and that free kick against Greece, are remembered as his finest hour for his nation, but it was also a display of complete indiscipline."
Cascarino believes it is Bale's unpredictable positional play that makes him such a potent threat for Tottenham, in the same way the aforementioned Manchester United hero did for England on occasions.
"It would ordinarily drive your team-mates crazy to see someone doing what Beckham did and Bale does: leaving vast spaces all over the pitch that the opposition can exploit, weakening the structure of the team." Cascarino said of Bale's performance for Tottenham on Tuesday.
"With Bale, as with Beckham, nobody complains. Redknapp did not start waving his arms and urging him back into position. He has had the good sense not just to indulge a player as gifted as Bale, but to build a side designed to showcase his 22-year-old force of nature."
Tottenham travel to Swansea City on New Year's Eve, hoping to make it five wins in their last seven games.