Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp insists Gareth Bale will be a more than able replacement when Benoit Assou-Ekotto leaves for the African Cup of Nations in January.
Bale has struggled to oust Assou-Ekotto from the left-back position at White Hart Lane this season but is expected to get his chance with the Cameroon international expected to be in Angola for up to six weeks.
Redknapp said: "Gareth's worked hard, trained well and has been in good form.
"He's beginning to take his game forward. It's just that Benoit's been in great form, so Gareth has been unlucky not to play.
"I'm not looking for a left-back because you won't get a better one than Gareth Bale. He's an excellent player."
If Bale is rewarded with an extended run in the first team he is likely to line up alongside Michael Dawson.
The 26-year-old has been one of Spurs' most consistent performers this term in a defence disrupted by injuries and Peter Crouch feels he has been key to their encouraging form.
"Michael's been brilliant," the England striker said.
"He heads everything, tackles everything, throws himself in.
"I've been back heading my fair share of balls away but Daws does for it the whole game, every game.
"You need his type of player because you know he will stand up, win his headers, win his tackles."