Gareth Bale
Tottenham Hotspur's Gareth Bale Reuters

Spurs winger Gareth Bale, who earlier advised Harry Redknapp to take the England manager's job should he be offered it, revealed he turned down a chance to move to Manchester United when he was a 17 year old playing for Southampton, according to a report in The Sun.

The Welsh winger, who was reportedly offered a contract by the Red Devils boss Sir Alex Ferguson, says he was persuaded to move to Tottenham because they were offering first-team football, which he wanted more than earning more money but playing in the reserves.

"Man United were interested in me but I wanted to play first-team football. I thought I had a better chance of getting that at Tottenham. The manager at the time, Martin Jol, told me he wanted me to go straight into the first team," The Sun quoted Bale as saying.

"That was the main thing that drew me to the club," he added.

The 22 year old also said he opted to represent Wales, turning down a chance to play for England, for the same reasons; and, in May 2006, he made the youngest player to represent Wales during a match against Trinidad and Tobago.

"That was an emotional debut. When I came on I knew I was the youngest ever Wales international, at the age of 16. I'm a proud Welshman - that's why I didn't choose to play for England. I could have, but I'd rather be Welsh!" he said.

Meanwhile, Bale, who has assisted 14 and scored 12 goals in 34 appearances this season, is reportedly being targeted by Barcelona and Real Madrid for a possible move this summer.

"If you are talking about Barcelona or Real Madrid, two of the biggest clubs in the world, then it's a bit like Harry [Redknapp] and England, it's a once-in-a-lifetime dream," an earlier IBTimes UK report quoted Bale as saying.

'If you said to any young player that you could play for Barcelona or Real would they turn it down? Probably not. If a bid was accepted you would obviously have to seriously consider it. But that has not happened so, at the moment, I'm just concentrating on Tottenham," he added.

However, Spurs will not let their star player, who is also linked to Inter Milan, go so easily as he is their most prized asset.

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