Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho is unsure when new loan signing Gareth Bale will return to full fitness but he believes the 31-year-old’s desire to play for “the club of his heart” again could speed up the process.
The forward secured a loan move from Spanish champions Real Madrid back to his former team on Saturday but Spurs said he would only be ready for action after the October international break having injured his knee playing for Wales this month.
“I don’t know when Gareth can be back,” Mourinho told the Evening Standard.
“The only thing I know is that his motivation is high. He’s so happy to be with the club of his heart, he’s so happy to play for us.
“And when a player has this motivation, many times you can short (reduce) the period of recovery, you can short the period of getting fit and ready to play.
“We’re more than happy to have him and help him back to a level that made him one of the best players in the world.”
In a statement confirming the injury, the club had said: “Gareth sustained a knee injury whilst playing for Wales on international duty earlier this month and this together with LaLiga’s later start compared to the Premier League means he has had a limited pre-season.
“We currently anticipate that he will be match fit after October’s international break.”
This means that Bale is unlikely to be available for Spurs’ games against Leyton Orient (Carabao Cup), Shkendija (Europa League), Newcastle United, and Manchester United.
If the club’s time frame is correct, then Bale could return for the London derby against West Ham United on October 17, which is followed by matches against Burnley and Brighton & Hove Albion.