Ben Davies has backed Gareth Bale to show his best form this season and talked up the positive impact he has had off the pitch at Tottenham.
The Welsh pair are set to start for Spurs on Thursday at LASK, where a point will be enough to secure progression from Group J into the last 32 of the Europa League.
Bale has only scored once so far since his September return to north London on loan from Real Madrid, and has largely been restricted to a bit-part role in the Premier League, but Davies feels his compatriot has nothing to prove.
“I think Gareth’s an amazing player,” Davies said.
“He doesn’t need to prove anything to anyone – he’s shown what he can do over the years. He’s got the quality there and I’m sure it will shine through at Spurs this year.”
After Bale was introduced off the bench and grabbed the winner against Brighton on November 1, he was expected to become a regular in Jose Mourinho’s starting XI.
He did feature from the off in the next league game against West Brom, but has not been used in the division since, yet showed he was a team player in the recent victory over Manchester City when he was seen smiling ahead of Joe Rodon being brought on.
It was Rodon’s first home appearance for Tottenham and saw Bale remain an unused substitute at the expense of his fellow Wales international.
Davies added: “I feel like I always saw him at his best when he was with Wales so I haven’t seen too much difference in him personally.
“But if you listen to the way people speak and how happy he is here, it is evident to see every day.
“He is buzzing around the place and playing, not playing, he is supportive of the guys and having someone of his presence and the history of winning stuff like he has got, lifts everyone here.”
Bale and Davies were two of the Spurs players who were recently filmed taking part in an indoor cricket match at the training ground in Enfield.
After starting out with a tennis ball, it has quickly developed into a favourite of the squad with several players taking part.
“I don’t really know who initiated it really, I think it just grew organically, I guess,” Davies said.
“It started off in the dressing room with a tennis ball and a broom and then somehow kit turned up and now it’s taken over the gym.”
The players will not be taking their focus off football matters, though, as boss Mourinho – who has not featured in the cricket yet – has made it clear to his squad that a tangible reward for a successful season would be a trophy.
“I think the gaffer has drilled into us that we are here to win something this year,” Davies said.
“It feels like it’s been a long time coming to try to win something but everyone at this club is determined to.
“It’s not easy to manage a big squad with the number of good players we’ve got here but everybody is pulling in the same direction.
“There are players on the bench and players some weeks who aren’t even in the squad, but you can see when they get their chance to play, it’s 100 per cent effort and 100 per cent desire and that’s fully across the team. It comes from a desire to win something.”
With striker Harry Kane nursing an unspecified injury, a strong performance by Bale away to LASK could earn him a shot against Arsenal on Sunday.
Mourinho said: “The only problem with Gareth is to get him to the dynamic and confidence of playing consecutive matches without any bad feeling, without any negative feeling or without any remembrance of the recent past where the condition was not the best and the fears were there. I think it is more about that.
“He is playing regular, he has the chance of a physical evolution.
“Of course he doesn’t need a technical or tactical evolution, he needs a physical evolution and to get into the intensity of matches and to get his confidence back to play consecutive matches like three matches in a week. I think it is more about that.”