Tottenham Hotspur captain Michael Dawson says the club's hopes of competing in the Premier League and the Champions League rests on the likes of Gareth Bale remaining at White Hart Lane.

Bale scored his 16<sup>th league goal of the season in victory over Arsenal in the north London derby on Sunday, extending Spurs' advantage over their arch rivals to seven points while leapfrogging Chelsea into third.

Ahead of the Europa League first leg against Inter Milan, against whom Bale burst on the scene with a hat-trick in the San Siro before a stunning display in the reverse group fixture in 2010, Dawson says Tottenham must keep the likes of Bale if they're repeat those great European nights.

Michael Dawson
Dawson is back in AVB's team.

"Gareth has been brilliant," Dawson told talkSPORT. "He's been linked with everyone but when's he's been playing as well as he is that's always going to happen. He's a Tottenham player and long may that continue.

"You'd certainly put him on the world-wide scale," he added. "Away from home being 4-0 down at half time and to come back and do what he did to Maicon in the second half and to get a hat-trick and everyone was talking about him.

"He did the same at White Hart Lane, we got a big win and it took us through to the next stage of the Champions League. For players and individuals you want to playing in the Champions League, you get some great experience and we want to be back their next season.

"You've got to keep your best players if you want to be playing in the Champions League and fighting in the Premier League. Gareth has been superb but there have been a lot of players in that dressing room who have been brilliant."

Dawson, 29, begun the season down the pecking order at Tottenham before earning his first league start of the campaign in the home win over West Ham United in November and has since been a vital component of Andre Villas-Boas' side.

His form alongside Jan Vertonghen was among the highlights of Tottenham's win over Arsenal at the weekend, and Dawson admits that while an England recall would appeal, he's concentrating on his club form.

"It's amazing how football turns around," Dawson added. "The first three months were hard for myself, not playing as much football as I would have liked, and West Ham at home was a chance for me to come in and play and from then I've not really looked back.

"When I spoke to him just after pre-season he said there might not be as much opportunity to be playing as much football as I would have liked. But it was my decision to stay I and around this squad and fight for my position on the training pitch working hard and thankfully the manager has seen that and he's put me in.

"It would be a dream but and I'm a realist first. I can't concentrate on thinking of playing for England I just got back in the Tottenham team but now I'm playing regular you never know. Fingers crossed it would be nice to get that England call-up."