Premier League

Andre Villas-Boas backs Spurs' Gareth Bale to play in same position as Cristiano Ronaldo

Gareth Bale has played through the middle - and scored - in his last two games

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Andre Villas-Boas believes Gareth Bale could end up playing in the same position for Tottenham as Cristiano Ronaldo does for Real Madrid.

Bale has developed his game to become one of the most devastating wingers in European football, but his career now appears to be heading in a different direction.

Villas-Boas has recently deployed the Welshman in a more central role, either as a No 10 in the hole or as an out-and-out striker.

Having started on the flanks, Ronaldo now operates as a centre-forward and Villas-Boas thinks all the signs are pointing towards the idea that Bale could end up doing the same.

Wales win brings confidence

"You can see similarities in each of the players," said the Spurs manager.

"Both of them are extremely technical players, and extremely powerful and pacy.

"It's funny to see how both players compare. They grew up as strikers, but became wingers.

"Gareth was a left-back and moved to winger and now going to a more advanced role. Ronaldo is also able to play that role up front.

"Ronaldo is now 28, and has achieved so much in his career. He is an example to Gareth as to what he can achieve."

Having excelled playing down the middle in Spurs' last two games against West Brom and Norwich, scoring in both, Villas-Boas appears set on playing Bale up front for the time being.

"We played Gareth up front for the second half against Norwich. We did it again against West Brom and it worked fine," he said.

Bale may be joined up front against Newcastle on Saturday by Emmanuel Adebayor.

Adebayor has been on Togo duty at the African Nations Cup for almost a month but despite a striker shortage, Tottenham say they are happy for the 28-year-old to return to training on Friday afternoon - less than 24 hours before the game against the Magpies.

Villas-Boas was reluctant to comment on Adebayor's whereabouts on Thursday. He would only say that the striker was "in Africa" to "take care" of some "issues".

Given that Jermain Defoe is out for up to three weeks with an ankle injury, the Spurs boss is hopeful that the Togolese will be passed fit.

"It's not a big ask for him to play on Saturday," the 35-year-old said.

"He is in good form and you have to allow the player to rest and recover. If he is ready physically we will select him.

"It's always difficult with the trips from extreme heat to cold. He will not be 100 per cent, but he's still a player that can make a difference."

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