By Paul Jones
Gareth Bale is still unable to play for a full 90 minutes, according to his Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho.
The Wales captain has returned to a rich vein of form in recent weeks, having seemingly overcome the injury problems that undermined the initial period of his loan move from Real Madrid.
But with the start of the delayed Euro 2020 finals just 13 weeks away, Mourinho has claimed Bale is still not up to lasting a full game.
The Spurs boss made the remarks ahead of Tottenham’s last-16 first-leg tie against Dinamo Zagreb in the Europa League on Thursday.
“I want to keep the momentum going but I need to manage him,” said Mourinho.
“The communication is very good and I think he trusts me. In this moment we are deciding together what to do.
“The other day during the [Crystal Palace] match I found Andre Marriner the fourth official was finding it annoying because we were talking so much.
“I was asking ’10 minutes more? 20 minutes?’. He’s playing very well.
“The relationship with him is very good I think and of course I would like him to play 90 minutes in every game but he can’t.”
Bale has made 22 appearances for Spurs under Mourinho to date, but has only completed a full match once.
That was the 90 minutes of action during a 4-1 FA Cup fourth-round win over Wycombe in January, where Bale also scored.
Other than that, it has been cameo roles for the 31-year-old, even though his influence at his club has been growing with two goals against both Burnley and Crystal Palace over the course of the last 10 days.
Mourinho has only allowed Bale to stay on the pitch until 70 minutes or beyond on five occasions and has taken him off before the hour-mark three times.
Bale – who is due to be named in Wales caretaker manager Robert Page’s squad on Monday for the first World Cup qualifiers – has started four of Tottenham’s last six games in all competitions, including three in the Premier League.