Date: 6th September 2006 at 6:34pm
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Yesterday signaled another significant step on the ladder of Gareth Bale’s increasingly successful career. The meteoric rise of the young welsh left back has been well documented, but for the young defender to look composed in the face of players with the quality of Ronaldinho surely must be his proudest achievement.

Wales`s boss John Toshack said after the game:

‘He had an excellent 45 minutes. A very encouraging performance for a 17 year old.’

Bale has already hit the headlines for Saints this season in scoring two magical free kicks against Derby County and Coventry City, he also won the Powerade Championship player of the month award recently.

Whilst the qualities of the youngster are to Saints’ great advantage one must wonder, as with any promising young player, how long it is before the big guns come calling. Arsenal were rumored to have been preparing a 4 million pound bid for Bale before the end of the transfer window, and although the move never materialized it will have worried Saints fans about the prospect of losing one of their newest young stars.

Saints will hold on to Bale until the January transfer window but it now seems increasingly likely that the bigger Premiership clubs will test Saints’ resolve again. Saints have so far been bullish in their desire to keep Bale and it will be interesting to see whether Bale will take the path of Walcott or Le Tissier.