Woodgate - Spurs title contenders

Stoke defender hails Gareth Bale as world's 'best winger'

Jonathan Woodgate: Stoke City defender holds no grudges against former club Tottenham

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Stoke City defender Jonathan Woodgate expects his old club Tottenham Hotspur to mount a serious Premier League title challenge this season.

Woodgate was released by Spurs in the summer after three-and-a-half injury-plagued years at White Hart Lane.

The club opted not to retain the 31-year-old because of his injury problems and he was later offered the chance to resurrect his career with Stoke.

Woodgate was disappointed at the Tottenham's decision to let him go, but does not hold a grudge and hopes that they go on to success.

No grudge

"There's no animosity between me and anyone at Spurs," said Woodgate, who shone against his old team-mates as Stoke clung on for a controversial 2-1 Premier League win over Harry Redknapp's in-form team at the Britannia Stadium on Sunday.

"They're a great side and I wish them all the luck in the world.

"I think they'll go close to winning the league, if not this year, then next year.

"I don't want to show anyone anything - I'll do it with my performances.

"I don't need to show anyone I can still play. I get on with my game and I know Harry Redknapp believes in me, so no problem.

"I didn't want to leave and he didn't want me to either. But that's life - you've got to get on with it. You move on."

Woodgate added: "Maybe to come here and get a result, maybe grind out a 2-2, even when they go down to 10 men.

"But I think Spurs are an unbelievable team - different class - and they'll go very close to winning the title.

"The whole team has pace and it's frightening for an opposing team when you know everyone's quick, and with the ability they've got, as well as speed, they're going to be a good side."

Best winger

Woodgate also hailed Spurs winger Gareth Bale and added: "I didn't sleep much the other night, to be honest.

"He's the best winger in the world, more or less."