Bale returns as Spurs face West Ham

Gareth Bale is expected to make his second Tottenham debut against West Ham on Sunday, but Jose Mourinho claims even the Welsh star’s place is not guaranteed as he revels in the squad depth at his disposal, reports AFP.

Bale has returned to north London on a season-long loan from Real Madrid after seven years of highs and lows since joining the Spanish giants for a then world-record fee.

He scored in two Champions League finals as Madrid won the competition four times in his first five seasons. But Bale’s performances also attracted plenty of criticism, while he struggled with injuries and the adaptation to life in Spain. Injury has also delayed his Tottenham return on the field, but the familiar surroundings have made the 31-year-old more relaxed after his Madrid misery and he has been pictured in the stands supporting his new team-mates.

Mourinho said on Friday that Sergio Reguilon, who also moved from Madrid to Spurs last month, commented that Bale looks a “different guy” from the shy figure in the Spanish capital.

But questions remain over whether he can emulate the success of his first spell with Tottenham, when he developed into one of the world’s best.

In the final season before his big move, Bale scored 26 goals but it still was not enough to secure a place in the Champions League as Andre Villas- Boas’s side finished fifth.